Supreme Court to Hear Healy Gas License

The Alaska Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an appeal of a Healy area natural gas license. The high court will consider the appeal filed by the Denali Citizens Council Wednesday September 18th.

It’s the latest volley in a long running dispute between the local group and the state Department of Natural Resources over licensing Usibelli Coal to look for and potentially develop gas in the area around Denali National Park.  A license was first applied for in 2003.

A  state best interest finding in favor of the license was issued in 2010.  D.C.C. Board member Nancy Bale has been involved in the public comment process for. The final best interest finding granted Usibelli the right to explore for shallow gas on over 208 thousand acres on both sides of the Parks Highway and Nenana River.

The Denali Citizen Council’s appeal claims the state defined area improperly includes sensitive residential and wildlife areas and does not provide adequate mitigation measures.  Bale said the appeal is not aimed at stopping gas development, which is seen as a cleaner burning energy alternative.

The  court is not expected to issue a ruling until next year.  A similar challenge to a state gas license for the Holitna area, heard last spring, has yet to be ruled on.