Testimony of Deantha Crockett, Projects Coordinator/Membership Director
October 26, 2010
Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony today. My name is Deantha Crockett, and I am a Projects Coordinator at the Resource Development Council, a statewide business association headquartered in Anchorage. RDC is comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s oil and gas, mining, forest products, tourism, and fisheries industries. RDC’s membership includes Alaska Native corporations, local communities (including the Mat-Su Borough), organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources.
RDC asks that the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly not adopt resolution 10-31 and accompanying Statement of Principles, as well as resolution 10-32 regarding municipal control of coal mining, put forward by the Mat-Su Borough Planning Commission.
It is important to emphasize that these resolutions propose regulations for coal mining in the Mat-Su Borough that would merely duplicate existing laws currently upheld by the State of Alaska.
The Alaska Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Act (ASMCRA) is a highly comprehensive permitting program. Reciting in this testimony all of the components of the SMCRA regulations would well exceed my time limit, however, it can be affirmed that the challenges outlined in the resolutions are thoroughly managed by the regulations. Indeed, SMCRA has regulations governing air and water quality, reclamation standards to restore the land to its original condition or better, fish and aquatic resources monitoring, and wildlife protection plans, clearly alleviating the concerns outlined in the statement of principles.
In addition, it is estimated that should one of the coal mining areas in the region, the Wishbone Hill Project, become an operating mine, up to 125 full-time, high-paying jobs would be created. The Planning Commission resolutions describe efforts to attract a diverse workforce in the Borough that will in turn feed a diverse economy. Unfortunately, the chilling effect passage of resolutions such as these would have could be devastating to that goal. The message the Borough should send is that we are open for business, we are open for responsible resource development. Responsible resource development in the Borough will create vital economic opportunities in which Borough residents could work closer to home. RDC urges you to not adopt resolutions 10-31 and 10-32.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to testify today.