A state Superior Court decision could sidetrack state administration plans to change water protection statutes. Earlier this week, the court decided in favor of the Chuitna Citizens Coalition in a case involving what is termed “instream flow” rights to Middle Creek, on the West side of Cook Inlet. The Coalition filed for instream flow rights in 2009, saying that wild salmon populations in the creek need to be protected. But the state Department of Natural Resources failed to process the application. Later, DNR approved a temporary water use permit for PacRim Coal to remove water from the same creek, with the Coalition application pending, so the Coaltion appealed to the courts. The court has decided that DNR failed to follow its own rules.
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