Friday’s withdrawal of a decision to renew a Sutton area coal permit will only temporarily halt further action on the development. Department of Natural Resources coal regulatory program manager Russel Kirkham says the permit held by Ranger Alaska is renewed every five years.
Kirkham says the company has to apply for renewal 120 days before the expiration of the permit, but the company has the right to continue operations under the permit until the renewal is finalized.
The Chickaloon Village Tribal Council and other groups have commented in opposition to the underground coal development at Jonesville near Sutton. Kirkham says one of those comments was omitted from the decision to renew Ranger Alaska’s permit, causing DNR to withdraw the renewal approval
Kirkham says DNR is now back to making a final decision on Ranger Alaska’s renewal. He says the next step is to address the missing comment, reissue the decision to renew the permit and then open up a hearing phase for those opposed to the decision to have their concerns heard.