The adventures of Seldovia’s Higman-McKittirick family continued into the Central Peninsula over the weekend. They are one month into a journey that is taking them 800 miles around the shores of Cook Inlet.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is seeking public comment for a new permit it would grant for mobile oil and gas exploration facilities in the state-controlled waters of Cook Inlet.
Two things happened that made DEC want to draw up a new permit for energy companies in Cook Inlet: In October of last year, the state was given more control over permitting and enforcement of the Clean Water Act by being granted primacy. So DEC is now the lead agency for water protection in Cook Inlet, basically from Kalgin Island north. And then, the parts of the old permit, which actually expired in 2011, were undergoing some legal review.
“So because it it was under appeal, we couldn’t reissue the full permit,” said DEC Water, Oil and Gas section manager Gerry Brown.
“There were portions of that (permit) that weren’t appealed, and that was the exploration portion. So the production portion of that permit was the part of that…that we basically couldn’t renew,” he said.
The EPA will develop its own permitting for nearby federally-controlled waters. The draft of the state permit isn’t a whole lot different than the one it might replace. Companies still submit plans for best management practices, environmental studies and reports and drilling fluids plans.
“From the state’s side, most of these modifications have to do with our taking over primacy and clarifying a lot of the
DEC is taking its proposed permit around for a series of public hearings, starting Monday night in Kenai. It’s likely that much of the input will be focused on the kinds of discharge the permitting allows. As it’s drafted, the permit allows discharge of drilling fluids and drill cuttings, excess cement slurry and deck drainage. But not within 4,000 meters, about two and a half miles, of sensitive environmental areas or special management areas, like coastal marsh or river mouths. A number of state critical habitat areas are located within the permitting zone: Kalgin Island, Redoubt Bay, Clam Gulch and Kachemak Bay. Studies continue, but there’s not much out there about the specific effects these chemicals might have on marine life when discharged. A 2010 study for the National Marine Fisheries Service found that relevant information was limited or absent for how the majority of emerging chemicals and products affect Beluga whales.
DEC will be in Kenai for public hearings Monday April 29th at the Visitor’s Center from 6-9 pm. The following night in Homer at the Island and Ocean Visitor’s Center and May 2nd in Anchorage. The public comment period runs until May 22nd.
Future community leaders from across Alaska and the Yukon will be in Soldotna for a three day camp and seminar known as RYLA this weekend.
Alaska State Troopers are looking for information regarding recent burglaries in Soldotna. Trooper Ethan Norwood says the break-ins happened last week at homes along Big Eddy Road.
The Kenai City Council voted to move the city’s comprehensive plan on to the Borough Planning Commission, but other obstacles may lie ahead before final passage of ‘Imagine Kenai 2030’.
There is an effort underway to preserve some key cultural sites around the Central Peninsula. KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran visited the Kalifornsky Village Friday to hear a lecture from Kenai Peninsula College anthropologist Dr. Alan Boraas and learn more about the significance of these places.
Legislators are settling back in to their home districts following the as-scheduled conclusion of the legislative session. House Speaker Mike Chenault offered his thoughts on 90 days in Juneau.
As the snow pack slowly fades away, the Kenai Peninsula becomes an attractive spot for birds, and bird lovers. The spring birding season is just around the corner with lots of activities and species to keep an eye out for.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly had its annual meeting in Seward Tuesday night. An ordinance to liberalize the use of fireworks in the Borough was the hot topic.
Plans for a new charter school in Kenai are taking shape. There are still lots of details left to work out for the Greatland Adventure Academy charter school, but enrollment has begun and the search for teachers is on.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly will take up a resolution at its meeting this week that would give the Assembly a more complete picture of the financial impacts of certain policy and legislative actions.
The summer drilling season is getting closer and operators in Cook Inlet have big plans for 2013.
The Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre troupe made a stop in Soldotna High School Wednesday evening for a performance of Lear Khehkwaii, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear that integrates the Gwich’in language. As KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran reports, the play was developed as a means to bring attention to and preserve native cultures and languages.
The Rick Zelinksy Jazz Quintet is back on the Kenai this weekend for their second performance at Kenai Peninsula College.
The Kenai City Council has already begun putting together suggestions for the Board of Fisheries ahead of its next meeting that will deal with local issues in January of 2014.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board will meet today to discuss and possibly approve new contracts for the district’s teachers and staff. Members of the teachers’ and employees’ unions had until Sunday to give the agreement an up or down vote.
The Alaska State Senate passed its version of the 2014 capital budget Saturday, marking a total of just under $1.9 billion dollars for transportation, energy and public works projects around the state. The budget contains funding for many projects on the Kenai Peninsula.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly has decided to have a public hearing for an ordinance that would repeal some provisions of the Borough’s Anadromous streams protection order.
As business, industry and population continue to grow on the Kenai Peninsula, residents and elected officials continue to grapple with the question of how to facilitate that growth in terms of the size of government and the specific roles it plays. We take a closer look at the ongoing issue of land use and management in the Borough.
With more than 500 ballots cast, the results are in and Soldotna’s new mayor is Dr. Nels Anderson. Anderson defeated former three-term Soldotna mayor Dave Carey by an unofficial count of 312 to 206. He says he appreciated what he called an ‘honorable race’
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly got an update on the goings on at the Donald E. Gilman River Center at its meeting Tuesday night, hearing about permitting and activity trends on river and land use issues. The Center saw a slight increase in permitting activity in 2012.
Sunday night was the deadline for Alaska residents to file for their Permanent Fund Dividends and many filers also chose to donate part of their PFD to non-profit organizations.
The Challenger Learning Center in Kenai will host their third annual Nano Days this Friday. The event is designed to expose people to the growing world of nanotechnology.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Anadromous Streams Protection ordinance will be up for discussion yet again at this week’s Borough Assembly meeting. The sponsor of the repeal isn’t convinced there’s Assembly support for it, despite a vocal opposition in the public.