A year and nine months after filing an appeal against the Best Interest Finding for the Healy Basin Gas Only Exploration License, Judge Andrew Guidi issued a decision, dated August 29, 2012, ruling in favor of the Department of Natural Resources. A PDF of the opinion is linked below. The DCC Board of Directors will be examining the judge’s decision and evaluating alternatives for further legal action over the next few days.
The judge’s ruling is unfortunate, as it allows a Best Interest Finding to stand which virtually guarantees continued conflict over gas exploration and development in the Denali Borough and shows an uncommon level of deference to the State. However, the judge does emphasize the importance of mitigation measures at future phases of permitting, which will give DCC leverage whenever such permitting does occur.
DCC has always assumed some level of gas exploration would eventually take place regardless of the outcome of the appeal, and is actively preparing for that eventuality. At the moment our major project is the creation of a Citizens’ Guide to Gas Permitting, a joint project with National Parks Conservation Association. Intern Claire Pywell is presently working on the Guide, to be completed in January.