Testimony of Marleanna Hall
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 • Anchorage, AK
Good evening. My name is Marleanna Hall and I am a Projects Coordinator at the Resource Development Council.
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 urges the State Pipeline Coordinator’s Office to approve the right-of-way lease request for the gas pipeline for the proposed Donlin Gold project site. Donlin’s application for a right-of-way lease for a natural gas pipeline from Cook Inlet to the proposed mine north of Crooked Creek, will be for the 14-inch diameter, 315-mile line beginning at the Beluga gas field 30 miles west of Anchorage and ending at the proposed Donlin gold mine site.
The gas pipeline will provide a stable source of energy for the Donlin project, and has the potential to offer the same to local communities if they choose to tie into the gas pipeline at a later date. Additionally, the construction of the pipeline, potentially beginning in 2016 and lasting three to four years, will provide jobs to Alaskans.
The pipeline will bring natural gas closer to rural Alaska, and potentially offer lower cost energy options to the region and job opportunities leading to reduced out-migration. The gas pipeline is also a better energy source than other options, and offers a better delivery method.
Donlin proposed the gas pipeline as an alternative after residents along the Kuskokwim expressed concerns about barge traffic delivering diesel to the project. The pipeline will reduce expected barge traffic on the river.
Furthermore, the gas pipeline infrastructure may offer development opportunities for properties along the pipeline corridor, including Calista and Cook Inlet Region, Inc. lands. The Donlin project is located in a region of Alaska that experiences some of the highest unemployment rates and has very few other opportunities. Through the exploration stages, Donlin has shown a strong commitment to local hire and for supporting communities and cultures in the region. A project like this truly is a rare opportunity to improve the local economy where few other opportunities exist.
If developed, RDC believes it will be done in a way that creates opportunity for local employment and economic growth, while protecting the subsistence resources and culture of the region, and protecting the environment. Donlin has committed to burying much of the pipeline to reduce visual impact and environmental footprint, as well as reclaim temporary infrastructure, such as roads and landing strips.
In closing, RDC again urges the State to approve the right-of-way lease request. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important project.