JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency doesn't expect to release a final report on the impacts of large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay region until early next year.
The agency planned to release the final watershed assessment by the end of 2013. But spokeswoman Hanady Kader says the timeline got pushed back by the more than two-week long government shutdown in October.
EPA initiated the review process in 2011 in response to concerns about the impact of the proposed Pebble Mine on Bristol Bay fisheries.
A revised watershed assessment released earlier this year found construction of a large-scale mine in the region could have major impacts even without a mishap.
Critics of the EPA review process fear it could lead to a pre-emptive veto of mining activity in the region.