Healy Gas Exploration Final Best Interest Finding released

Only 20 days to appeal, after 5 years waiting
After nearly five years, the State Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas, has put out a Final Best Interest Finding on Healy Basin Gas Exploration. This process began in 2003 when Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc. applied to explore for coalbed methane under the state’s old shallow gas program. When that program was dropped, Usibelli then re-applied for a Gas Exploration License on more than 208,000 acres encompassing most of the populated areas around Healy and sensitive lands in the Wolf Townships. Despite cogent arguments brought forth in many comments, the area of exploration in the Final Finding remains exactly the same.

Our first concern – not enough time to comment
It’s laughable to think that 20 days is truly enough time to consider this Final BIF. At least 30 and preferably 60 days would show that the state of Alaska actually respects the views of local people.

Our second concern – who can comment and how
Comments on this extensively re-written document will be accepted only from those who commented on the Preliminary Finding and will be limited to a “request for reconsideration.”

We at DCC intend to file a “request for reconsideration” arguing that due process is being encumbered by severe time limits and limits on the scope of comment, given DNR’s long delay in publishing a Final Finding. We will keep you posted. Meanwhile, you may read the Finding online at http://www.dog.dnr.alaska.gov/oil/programs/leasing/best_interest_findings/best_interest_findings.html

If you commented on the Preliminary BIF and did not receive a paper copy of the Final BIF, call DCC at 683-3396. We will get you a hard copy, if you wish.

You can read DCC’s comments on the 2005 Preliminary Best Interest Finding by clicking here.

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