Sutton Coal Permit Up For Renewal

The state has received an application from Usibelli Coal for a permit renewal for the Wishbone Hill coal mine. The mine is located on state mental health trust land and private land some five miles from Sutton in the Matanuska Valley. The renewal request is for an additional five year term for the mine and does not include additional mining areas or revisions to the existing boundaries. Comments on the permit renewal are being accepted until October 14 at the state Department of Natural Resources division of mining, land and water.

On Tuesday, Matanuska-Susitna Borough mayor Larry DeVilbiss is expected to introduce a resolution in support of Usibelli ‘ s Wishbone Hill project. The proposed resolution would support Usibelli’s permit renewal. But opposition to the mine, which is now in the exploration phase, has been growing in the area. Kirby Spangler represents the Castle Mountain Coalition, a local organization that opposes coal mining. Spangler says a growing number of property owners and recreational users are not in favor of coal development:

Spangler, who is a father of young children , says there are health aspects related to coal mining. He lives about a mile from the mine site

Castle Mountain Coalition is joined in its opposition to coal development by the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council. The Council’s Jennifer Harrison says coal development will have a negative effect on human health and on the health of the fish and wildlife the villagers depend on.

The Borough Assembly will hear public comment on the proposed resolution on Tuesday, September 6 at 6 pm. The regularly scheduled Borough Assembly meeting has been moved to the Palmer railroad Depot to accommodate the expectation of a large turnout.


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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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