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Contact: Sheela McLean
NOAA News Releases 2003
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The National Association of Environmental Professionals presented the 2003 “Award for Environmental Excellence in NEPA” (National Environmental Policy Act) to the Alaska Region of NOAA Fisheries and to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council for their work on the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on Steller sea lion protection measures.

Quoting from the news release announcing the awards handed out June 24 in San Antonio, Texas: “The National Association of Environmental Professionals has conducted the National Environmental Excellence Awards competition for the past seven years, singling out projects and programs that model excellence in the environmental profession, that meet or exceed stringent award criteria, and stand out as significant contributions to maintaining and protecting the environment.”

“We’re honored,“ said NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region Administrator Dr. Jim Balsiger. “Both the Council and the agency have worked hard to make our environmental review process transparent and very open to the public. That, coupled with our science-based outlook, put us in line for this award.”

“The complexity of the environmental analysis and document, a unique stakeholder constituent committee, which developed the SEIS alternatives, and resolution of an appeal also probably figured into the award,” said Balsiger.

In response to the award, David Benton, chairman of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council said, “This award speaks highly of the council process, which is science-based, deliberative and transparent. The council is proud of our record on conservation and this project highlighted the ability of this process to balance conservation goals with viable fisheries.”

Dr. Balsiger traveled to San Antonio to receive the award on behalf of NOAA Fisheries. Chris Oliver, executive director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, accepted the award on behalf of the council during the June 24 luncheon ceremony. Tamra Faris, NEPA coordinator for the Alaska Region of NOAA Fisheries, who served as project leader for the analysis and team member Lewis Queirolo, regional economist for the Alaska Region of NOAA Fisheries, also traveled to San Antonio for the ceremony.

For more information about the National Association of Environmental Professionals, visit:

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat. To learn more about NOAA Fisheries in Alaska, please visit our Web site at:

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. To learn more about NOAA, please visit