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DCC Opposes Suction Dredge mining in Kantishna

June 8, 2016

MapA request to do in-stream suction dredge mining on a small fresh water stream with important grayling habitat has been submitted to the National Park Service, and DCC commented on the Environmental Assessment the service developed.

We opposed this project unequivocally, as a threat to streambed habitat and nearby resources, and because it reverses settled policy supporting willing seller buyout of mining claims in Kantishna.  NPS has had more than 26 years to make the buyout, and because of a failure of vision, has neglected to do so.

Read our comments at the link below.

DCC Comments on Eldorado Mining Plan of Operations FINAL

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DCC submits scoping comments to FERC opposing Parks Highway gasline route

December 5, 2015

Read our comments below.

DCC comments – Alaska LNG Project scoping

 

Background
Since 2008, Denali Borough residents have heard various proposals for a pipeline that would transport North Slope gas to the Anchorage area using a Parks Highway route.  Now, in 2015, the Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas Project, or Alaska LNG, has emerged as the dominant gas pipeline project for Alaska.  Overshadowing its most recent competitor, the Alaska Standalone Pipeline Project (ASAP), Alaska LNG is expected to cost between $45 and $65 billion dollars, the single largest investment in Alaska history.  The project, unlike ASAP, would employ up to a 48 inch diameter pipe, would transport pure methane, and would involve liquefaction of the gas and export to Asian markets from a marine terminal, currently identified as Nikiski, Alaska.

FERC conducts scoping across the state: Docket No. PF14-21-000
In early November 2015 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conducted scoping sessions in affected communities along the proposed pipeline route. FERC is the federal agency responsible for conducting environmental review of energy projects, and has already been in the borough scoping on proposed small hydro projects.  The deadline for scoping comments was December 4, 2015, a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is scheduled to appear in 2017, and a Final EIS is scheduled for 2018, followed by a determination of whether the project should proceed. FERC will not be in the community again for public comment until the Draft EIS is out in 2017. DCC intends to submit comments.  We encourage others to submit, even if past the deadline.       The FERC scoping meeting in the Denali Borough attracted 25+ citizens. Brian Napier represented DCC and spoke to the effects of this project on scenic qualities, wildlife and the overall tourism economy. Others raised issues of impacts upon high-value land parcels in the Panguingue, Yanert, Montana Creek, Otto Lake and north Nenana Canyon areas, including acreage owned by the Denali Borough and still awaiting classification and land use plans.  The issue of access roads and their disruption of the community came up. And, although bringing gas to tidewater for export is in Alaska’s interest, the disruption of Denali lands and communities carries with it no opportunity for access to gas or other clear benefits.       The FERC scoping meeting in Anchorage attracted 40+ individuals and fourteen gave testimony.  I spoke for DCC, and questioned the Parks Highway route, citing its heavy impacts on lands in the Denali Borough designated for wildlife habitat and public recreationI urged FERC to consider other viable alternatives to the Parks Highway route, including the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) to Valdez. As it happened, at least three other speakers favored this alternative route, with reasons focused on impacts to whales and problems with ice movement in cook Inlet.  Although, a lot of momentum exists behind the Alaska LNG project as currently configured, FERC representatives present at the meeting indicated that all viable alternatives would be considered, based on public input. It is time for folks to raise their voices suggesting an alternative routing of this pipeline.

Unknowns make public comment difficult
One of the reasons I gave to FERC for opposing the Parks Highway route was the absence of useful detail on how project infrastructure will affect the lands and communities it crosses. Recent maps that showed possible access routes in the Denali Borough are no longer posted on the LNG website, and it is still unclear where gravel will be obtained and where the pipeline will be above vs. below ground.  The overall visual impacts of laying pipe close to the Parks Highway in the Nenana Canyon have not been pictured. On one of the maps I reviewed, it looked as if an access road to the Yanert Valley portion of the line would be located on the BLM 17(b) easement that starts at a newly renovated pullout along the Parks Highway. I made it clear to LNG representatives that the conversion of this trail into a road for purposes of access to the pipeline would likely be opposed by the community.

Other project unknowns include whether the pipe will be 42” or 48” in diameter (not to be decided until May 2016), how large the footprint of a compressor station will be (two are envisioned, one north of Healy, the other north of Cantwell), whether the pipeline will be buried under or bridged over the Nenana River at Moody Bridge, what if any access roads are planned to that portion of the pipeline above the Nenana Canyon hotels, and how permanent any access roads would be in Yanert and Montana Creek areas. Also unknown at this time is how the pipeline senses a breach and provides notification of it, and what impacts from maintenance and general operations there would be.

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DCC News – Fall 2015

December 1, 2015

Our fall 2015 edition thanks members who have donated in the fall drive, our strong opposition to routing a gas line through the Denali Borough down the Parks Highway, and many other topics.

Read it at the link below.

DCC News – Fall 2015

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DCC Submits Comments on Agnew::Beck recommendations

November 1, 2015

boroughcolorThis past weekend, DCC submitted comments on the Draft recommendations of the consulting firm Agnew::Beck to the Denali Borough on land classification and management.  The comments addressed issues brought up by the consulting firm around land management processes, conflicts and next steps in this young borough.  Please read our comments below.

DCC Comments Agnew::Beck recommendations to Denali Borough

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COMMENT DEADLINE OCTOBER 31: Denali National Park Trails Plan

October 30, 2015

 Transportation in Denali?
 PLEASE COMMENT ON TRAILS PLAN SCOPING – COMMENTS DUE SAT, OCT 31, 2015

We urge our members, especially those of you with long-term experience in the park, to provide comments during the  scoping process, which seeks input on a variety of issues, the trails vision, formal trails, maintenance issues, pets, bicycles and winter use.

You may comment using the PEPC website, or by email at dena_planning@nps.gov
 

Below are some of the issues and positions DCC plans to raise in our comments:

  • Vision for trails – We support retaining the vision (most recently voiced in the Backcountry Management Plan, 2006) of no formal (built) trails in Denali’s backcountry beyond those already approved in existing planning documents.
  • Social trail mitigation – We support the social trail monitoring program established in the Backcountry Management Plan (2006), and encourage NPS to implement it more fully by 

      –  developing indicators for when social trail formation is approaching impairment of resources.
    –  committing to specific actions it will take to mitigate impairment.
      –  educating bus drivers, guides and local businesses to direct hiking traffic away from more
    impacted social 
    trailheads.
    –  establishing a social trails working group.

  • We generally support the formal trails that have already been authorized – We think that a Formal Trails Plan should focus on taking a comprehensive look at Denali’s formal trails, both existing and proposed, and consider their overall impact on park resources and finances.  
  • Pets and bikes on trails – Family pets, on leash, could be acceptable on formal trails in the headquarters area only, but not the Triple Lakes Trail. Recreational dog mushing is acceptable in winter, subject to impact monitoring. Bicycles are acceptable on the park road, on designated former mining roads in Kantishna, and possibly on some formal trails in the headquarters area, but not Triple Lakes or the proposed Nenana River Trail.
  • Winter trails and river trailsWinter cross country skiing routes in the headquarters or Mt. Vista Rest Stop area could be laid out, subject to available funds. Otherwise, winter and river trails should not be mapped or developed on the north side of Denali Park. All forms of winter recreation must be monitored for impacts on wildlife. Development of any infrastructure to support winter recreation, even if temporary, must be analyzed through NEPA.
  • State and municipal lands at the park boundaries can provide a wider range of trail opportunities, if they are desired. One example of an area where this wider range could be considered is the planned South Denali Visitor Center. Denali National Park should maintain its commitment to wilderness recreation, dispersed, non-mechanical access, and scrupulous prevention of wildlife impacts.
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Denali Borough to have meetings to discuss Agnew::Beck land planning recommendations

September 29, 2015

Color_Borough_Logo_WebATTEND A MEETING AND SHARE YOUR VIEWS 

The consulting firm of Agnew::Beck was recently hired by the Denali Borough to assist with creating a management system for Borough owned land. Agnew::Beck has created a draft report and is looking for public comment on it.  Read a copy of the Agnew::Beck land management recommendations, along with a trove of information on borough land planning at the Denali Borough Land Management page.


To learn more and share your views, please attend one of the following meetings:
October 12, 2015 6 pm – 7:30 pm   Tri-Valley Community Center in Healy
October 13, 2015 6 pm – 7:30 pm   Anderson City Council Chambers (before the Anderson City Council meeting)
October 14, 2015 5 pm – 6:30 pm   McKinley Park Community Center (before the Denali Borough Assembly meeting)
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DCC Comments on Proposal to Rehabilitate 7 Mile Pit on the Park Road

September 7, 2015

Our comments asked for clarifications and modifications regarding a plan to expand the existing gravel pit at 5 Mile along the Park Road and eventually close Mile 7 pit.  The presence of wolves in a den near Mile 7 may complicate the rehabilitation project somewhat. In addition, we made suggestions regarding how to ensure that once rehabilitated this pit would be successfully re-designated wilderness.

Read our comments below:

DCC Comments on Mile 7 Pit RehabFINAL – Submitted August 10, 2015

 

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DCC News – Early Summer 2015

August 31, 2015

This edition of DCC News reviews the events of the summer such as the DCC’s panel discussion on local hydropower projects, the efforts to get the Alaska Board of Game to consider buffers to protect Denali wolves in 2016, and the frustrations of local road construction. A new Denali Borough initiative on municipal land entitlements, a look at the State of Alaska’s Wildlife Action Plan, and an interview with outgoing NPS Public Information Officer Kris Fister round out the issue.

DCC News Summer 2015

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Jan-Feb DCC News now online

April 28, 2015

Cover page DCC NewsRead why we supported a recent emergency petition for wolf buffers, information on small hydro in the Denali Borough, the Community debate on coal, and updated news on the Stampede State SRA proposal. This is a large file, and will take a little time to download.

Jan-Feb DCC News 2015

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DCC submits comments on Preliminary Permit request for a Hydroelectric project on Carlo Creek

March 1, 2015

CarloOn February 6, 2015, DCC submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on a Preliminary Permit to establish a hydroelectric project on upper Carlo Creek, in an area where a number of local individuals hold private property.  A number of locals have objected to the construction of this project.  The Preliminary Permit will almost certainly be granted, and will authorize studies only, to be conducted over the next two to three years by project sponsors.  DCC is carefully following this proposal. We submitted comments and a motion to intervene, which can be viewed at the links below.

DCC Carlo Creek Comments P-14645 2.6.15

DCC Carlo Creek Motion to Intervene P-14645 2.6.15

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DCC submits comments on Bruskasna Dam Preliminary Permit Application

March 1, 2015

BruskasnaOn February 13th, Denali Citizens Council submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on an application for a Preliminary Permit to construct a hyrdroelectric project on Bruskasna Creek, a tributary of the Nenana River upstream from the first bridge across the Nenana north of Cantwell.  This area is popular with area boaters and fishermen.

The Preliminary Permit would authorize a variety of studies on economic, environmental and physical impacts of this proposed project. Studies are expected to take up to three years.

To read DCC’s comments on the Preliminary Permit application, click on the link below. In addition, DCC filed a “Motion to Intervene” to establish our organization’s standing over the course of the project. You may read the motion by clicking the link.

DCC Bruskasna Creek Comments P-14652

DCC Bruskasna Creek Motion to Intervene P-14652

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DCC submits comments on FERC Preliminary Permit for Jack River Dam

January 31, 2015

Click on the image for a larger version

On Friday, January 30th, 2015, DCC submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on a request for a Preliminary Permit for a 4.2 Megawatt hydroelectric project on the Jack River, near Cantwell, Alaska, in the southern part of the Denali Borough.  The site is approximately 12 miles from the closest boundary of Denali National Park, and three miles south of the Denali Highway. The dam is proposed to be 250 high, and the reservoir, according to maps included in the permit, would be five miles long, stretching up into the Talkeetna Mountains.

The FERC Preliminary Permit is not a permit to build, but to study the concept. Preliminary FERC permits are usually granted, Read more

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