November 14, 2011
Mr. Russell Kirkham
State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources
Division of Mining, Land and Water
550 W 7th Ave Suite
Anchorage, AK 99501
Dear Mr. Kirkham:
The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. (RDC) writes to express its support for an application by Usibelli Coal Mine for the renewal of permits 01-89-796 and 02-89-796 to mine coal at the Wishbone Hill Mine.
RDC is a statewide business association 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, 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.
The Wishbone Hill project, located on State, Mental Health Trust, and private land five miles west of Sutton, has been permitted every five years since 1992.
As you are aware, the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) enforces stringent regulations overseeing mining activities statewide that effectively protect the environment, wildlife, and human health. The Wishbone Hill permit application closely follows these regulations. Usibelli Coal Mine holds an outstanding record for operating mines in Alaska, and began instituting reclamation efforts before it was required by law to do so.
Upon operation, the mine is estimated to produce 500,000 tons of coal each year and provide between 75-125 jobs, helping diversify the economy in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough as well as the State.
The Wishbone Hill permit application outlines an extensive reclamation plan, including the enhancement of wildlife and recreational habitat as post-mining priorities. These environmentally-sound practices combined with the economic benefits the mine would provide make for a win-win situation in the Matanuska-Susitna region.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important issue.
Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc.
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