Healy Gas Exploration Final Finding – The clock is ticking!

Healy Gas Final Best Interest Finding appeals due by Monday, July 19, 2010
Only if you commented on the Preliminary Finding in 2005 will you have “standing” to appeal the Final Finding

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 to the state of Alaska for a license 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.  The state has basically ignored or minimized many of the public concerns raised in the Preliminary comments.
DCC sent a letter to the Commissioner asking for more time…request denied
On Friday July 9th, 2010, we sent a letter to Commissioner Tom Irwin requesting more time to comment and for a broader scope of comment.  On the 13th, Commissioner Irwin answered our request by saying that the law prevents any changes in the appeal period or scope of comment.
After five years, the release of a Final Finding, a Finding with such limited opportunities for public involvement, shows blatant disregard for those people in the Denali Borough and elsewhere who participated, in good faith, five years ago.
There was significant public concern at the time of the Preliminary Finding….this concern has been, basically, either thwarted or ignored in the Final Finding.  We are told that we can bring up our concerns on “reconsideration” or at the time of future permitting for individual elements of gas exploration and development.
We at DCC intend to file a “request for reconsideration” arguing that due process is being encumbered, guidelines for gas exploration and development are not sufficiently protective, AND, sensitive lands should be dropped from the license area.
If you have standing, file a request for reconsideration of this decision, or Sign On to Ours
If you commented on the Preliminary BIF you should have received a paper copy. According to the Final Finding, ” A person affected by this decision who provided timely written comments or oral testimony may request reconsideration, in accordance with 11 AAC 02. Any reconsideration request must be received by July 19, 2010, and may be mailed or delivered to:
Thomas E. Irwin, Commissioner
Department of Natural Resources
550 W. 7th Avenue, Suite 1400
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Fax: 1-907-269-8918
Email: dnr.appeals@alaska.gov
If you want to sign on to DCC’s request for reconsideration, please email me at nancy@denalicitizens.org.
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