Skwentna Coal Project Subject of Public Hearing

The state department of Natural Resources has published a public notice of its preliminary decision on an intent to lease more than 13 thousand acres near Skwentna to coal exploration. A public hearing is for a “best interest ” finding to determine if the sale is in the state’s interest is scheduled for next month. [kska’s ellen lockyer has more]

Bill Cole, with DNR’s mining section, says the potential lease sale has been prompted by the request of an interested party, the Alaska Energy Company.

“The reason that this decision has been written, again it is a preliminary decision, is that we did receive a request from a company wanting coal leases over specific ground in that area which is described in the decision, and we have looked at that in response to their request and written this preliminary decision. ” he said.

The area, called the Canyon Creek lease, is located about 18 miles from Skewntna near Shell Lake. The potential coal lease area has been surveyed for mineral quality, and is rated as high potential, Cole says.

A public hearing for the Canyon Creek Competitive Coal Lease Sale will be held Tuesday, November 13, at Wendler Middle School in Anchorage from 6:30 to 9:00 pm.

“We’re having the public meeting as a matter of public outreach and public participation. It’s a opportunity for the public to come and ask questions and also for the public to give testimony with regard to this decision,” Cole said.

The public is invited to comment on the preliminary decision for the Canyon Creek Lease Sale. In order to be considered, comments must be in writing or by email, or by testimony at the public hearing. Deadline for comments is November 21.