PacRim to appeal water decision

PacRim coal has filed an appeal with the state Department of Natural Resources over a water rights permit that earlier this month was issued to a citizens conservation group.

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The water reservation permit was granted to the Chuitna Citizens Coalition, a group which opposes PacRim’s proposed coal mine on the West side of Cook Inlet.

DNR’s Water Resources Section approved one of three water reservation applications from the Coalition. The approved application was for a section of a stream outside boundaries of the planned mine.

But Pac Rim’s Dan Graham says Pac Rim and other industry groups are filing appeals with DNR over the granting of the water rights to private citizens. The state Department of Law is also appealing that decision on behalf of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Lands Office.

In a statement on Tuesday, Graham said:

“Reversal of the decision …….. will assure that regulation and control of water resources in Alaska will remain in the hands of regulatory experts at

the agencies charged with balancing the management and protection of fish and wildlife and resource development under … regulations and standards. ”

Meanwhile, the Coalition has not filed an appeal, but Ron Burnett, representing the group, said  Wednesday  that the Coalition “has spent a lot of time and money to keep water in the salmon spawning stream.”

“Our constitution of the state of Alaska has it set up that the people of the state of Alaska can request a water reservation, and that’s what we did, ”  Burnett said.

He says the Coalition will participate in the industry appeals process.

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APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone. Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen

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