On December 8, 2010, the Denali Citizens Council (DCC) a grassroots organization based near Healy, appealed to Alaska Superior Court the Alaska Department of Natural Resource’s (DNR) final decision to approve the Healy Basin Gas Only Exploration License. The license would allow Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc. to explore for both conventional and shallow gas (coal bed methane) resources on 208,000 acres completely surrounding Healy and extending west to the boundary of Denali National Park and Preserve.
“DNR released a Preliminary Best Interest Finding for Healy Gas Exploration in 2005. We did not oppose some level of gas exploration and development, but were concerned about the large extent of the license area and inadequate protections for private property owners,” said DCC President Nancy Bale. “In 2005 the State of Alaska assured us that the best interests of local citizens would be critical in their decision. However, in 2010 DNR dropped the final decision on the community with extremely limited opportunity for input despite the five year wait, weakened key mitigation measures from 2005, and failed to protect sensitive public lands as well as residential communities within the license area.”
“We believe that some lands in the license area have more important uses for our community and the state than for gas development,” said Jared Zimmerman, DCC board member and Denali Borough resident. “Taking key lands out of the agreement will protect communities and ensure that the borough will retain valuable property for development beyond resource extraction. If the state would meaningfully address our concerns at this stage and develop limits appropriate for our community, it would make going forward with gas development much easier for everyone.”
The Council is represented by Anchorage attorney Peter Van Tuyn.
Read the full appeal notice: DCC Notice of Appeal 12-8-10
Further background information can be found at: http://www.denalicitizens.org/healy-basin-gas-exploration-license/
Nancy Bale, President, Denali Citizens Council 907-277-3825 nancy[at]denalicitizens[dot]org
Jared Zimmerman, DCC Board member 907-683-2127 jared_zimmerman[at]hotmail[dot]com
Peter Van Tuyn, Bessenyey & Van Tuyn, L.L.C. 907-278-2000 peter[at]bvt-law[dot]com
Denali Citizens Council
PO Box 78
Denali Park, Alaska 99755