December 2, 2013
Ms. Nicole Hayes
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Division, CEPOA-RD
P.O. Box 6898
JBER, AK 99506
Via email to: email@example.com
Dear Ms. Hayes:
The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. (RDC) is writing to comment on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) draft guidance on mitigation banks, Reference Number SPN-2013-599.
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.
RDC applauds the Corps for recognizing the need for consistent wetlands mitigation opportunities, and for taking the initiative to develop a guideline, and would like to take this opportunity to encourage the Corps to develop Alaska-specific solutions. With nearly half of Alaska being comprised of wetlands, it is imperative Alaska have its own regulations. Additionally, as Alaska is a young state, and contains over half of the nation’s wetlands, it is vital to current and future development projects of all kinds to have a flexible, fair, and reliable solution for wetlands mitigation.
While the guidance is specific to in-lieu fee providers and mitigation banks, as well as permittee-responsible mitigation, it does not recognize the limited availability of mitigation bank and in-lieu fees credits in Alaska. RDC urges the Corps to include permittee-responsible mitigation in this guidance.
RDC supports the Corps allowing for applicants to use mitigation options farther from their project sites, should they wish to propose their projects. Further, RDC supports that the Corps apply the guidelines, and include the language “unless site specific circumstances warrant deviation from them.”
As mitigation measures are the responsibility of the Corps, RDC urges the Corps to develop opportunities for wetlands mitigation in a timely manner for projects across Alaska.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important issue.
Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc.