Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Pac Rim Coal has asked the state Department of Natural Resources for a two-year extension on the company’s Chuitna Coal Exploration Permit.
Pac Rim wants to construct a strip mine for coal on the west side of Cook Inlet about 11 miles northwest of Tyonek. The permit renewal would re-authorize 82 water monitoring wells, and the installation of 6 additional monitoring wells. Dan Graham, who is heading the project development for Pac Rim, says the request is routine, because the permit must be updated every two years.
Graham says Pac Rim has held an exploratory permit for the area since 1983, and has since constructed the existing wells and a weather station there. He says Pac Rim has no plans to drill new wells at this time, but the updated permit has provisions that would allow the company to do so if it desires.
Environmental groups such as the Cook Inlet Keeper are opposing the project.
The state division of mining, land and water is asking for public comments on the Pac Rim request. The comment period is open until September 24.
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