State Wants Comments On Coal Health Assessment

Mat-Su Borough Assembly members voted down a resolution to expand the state health assessment relative to the Wishbone Hill coal development by a 4 – 3 vote last week. The resolution requested that the Alaska State Department of Health and Social Services expand the preliminary draft Wishbone Hill Rapid Health Impact Assessment (HIA) into a Comprehensive Health Impact Assessment. Assembly man Warren Kehoe sponsored the health report expansion. Kehoe says a rapid assessment is done too quickly.

“But a more complete health impact assessment is called a comprehensive one. And this resolution that I brought forward simply said, simply a request to state Health and Human Services to consider expanding the rapid assessment into a comprehensive assessment. By doing so, we could fill in some of those important data gaps that are missing and are identified in this draft rapid health assessment.”

The Assembly Resolution was supported and recommended by the Mat-Su Borough Health and Social Services Board. Kehoe was backed by Assembly members Vern Halter and Jim Colver. But four Assembly members voted the resolution down. They are Ron Arvin, Darcie Salmon, Steve Colligan and Noel Woods.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services completed a draft Health Impact Assessment (HIA) in March. But some local health care providers says there are data gaps in the assessment.

The state of Alaska is accepting comments on the draft Health Impact Assessment through June 14th.