Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly members on Tuesday night approved a controversial land lease for road access to a coal mine in Sutton. Local residents and the Chickaloon Tribal Council have opposed the road. But Assembly members passed the measure with a six to one vote, after adding amendments to the proposal aimed at protecting residents living near the road that will enable Usibelli Coal to access rich deposits at Wishbone Hill.
The Assembly amendments to the road proposal include a mandate to pave the road as soon as commercial hauling starts, measures to reduce the potential of coal dust polluting the area and one million dollars in pollution insurance. But many residents of the Sutton and Chickaloon areas on the Glenn Highway are disturbed by Usibelli’s plan to revive coal mining in the area. About one hundred families live in the area of the proposed mining activity.
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