RDC NEWS DIGEST
AGRIUM CLOSING KENAI NITROGEN FACILITY
At the end of September, Agrium, Inc. closed its Kenai nitrogen fertilizer operations due to a shortage of natural gas supply in the Cook Inlet basin. Closing the facility will result in the lay-off of more than 100 employees and will strike a blow to the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s tax base. The local economy will also feel the impact with the immediate loss of an annual payroll of $16.5 million, down from $30 million in 2001 when some 300 people worked at the plant.
Agrium spokeswoman Lisa Parker, who also serves on the RDC board, said the company will continue studying the feasibility of converting its feedstock from gas to coal, using an environmentally-friendly and proven technology called coal gasification. A low emission coal gasification plant could lead to reopening the facility in the next decade.
Borough Mayor and RDC board member John Williams said the closure points to the need for more gas in Southcentral Alaska, either through new discoveries or a bullet line from the North Slope.
RDC ANNUAL CONFERENCE SET FOR NOVEMBER 14-15
RDC’s Annual Conference will be held November 14-15 at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel. The two-day agenda, as well as registration information, a list of sponsors, exhibitors and raffle donors are available online at www.akrdc.org.
TECKCOMINCO’S PROPOSAL TO EXTEND MINE UNDER REVIEW
TeckCominco’s request to extend mining of zinc and other minerals near the Red Dog Mine has initiated the review of the 1984 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and a Supplemental EIS (SEIS). The SEIS will include review and/or modification of EPA and Corps of Engineer permits.
Mining of the Aqqaluk deposit would begin approximately in 2010, using the same facilities and much of the same waste stockpile areas as the current mine. There are no proposed changes to the water treatment systems in place, nor to the discharge locations. The Aqqaluk deposit would extend the mine life of Red Dog to 2031.
RDC COMMENTS ON VARIETY OF ISSUES
RDC has prepared action alerts and completed comment letters on numerous issues of importance to our members. These issues include the proposed ESA listings of Cook Inlet Beluga whales and Yellow-Billed Loons, EPA Clean Water Act NPDES Permits for Discharges Incidental to the Normal Operation of Vessels, and the Steller Sea Lion Draft Recovery Plan. Visit www.akrdc.org for details on these and other issues.