State Approves Skwentna-Area Coal Lease

The State has given the go ahead to a coal lease sale for the Skwentna area. The division of mining, land and water released its final decision Friday on the Canyon Creek coal lease.

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A coal lease sale for the Skwentna area has been given the go-ahead. The state division of mining, land and water released today (friday) it’s final decision on the Canyon Creek coal lease sale. Bill Cole, with with the Department of Natural Resources, says the lease area encompasses more than 13 thousand acres.    Cole says the decision to move ahead with a lease sale does not mean an exploration permit has been approved

 “This notice is the notice to hold a competitive lease sale for the acreage. It does not provide for any kind of physical activity on the ground.” 

 The lease area, about 18 miles from Skwentna, has no infrastructure

 “And this lease is a right to explore for and develop coal assuming the company can acquire the appropriate permitting.”

 He says coal exploration permits are approved by DNR’s coal regulatory program.   According to Cole, the state was asked to consider the lease area by Alaska Energy Corporation, a subsidiary of Canada’s Can Am Coal.

 Tim Leach, with the citizens group, Envision Mat Su, says expanded coal development in the Matanuska Susitna Borough area is harmful to resident’s health, while it has dubious economic benefits

 “We have seen huge fluctuations in the price of coal on the global level. And if we are seeing that right now, why would we think that is going to change for the future , why would we say ‘let’s hitch our wagon to coal?’ With the volatility in the marked for coal specifically, we will see the continuation of a boom – bust economy, if we go in that direction.”

The complete details of the Canyon Creek decision can be viewed online at