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KNBA News - Anchorage to buy Cook Inlet natural gas source for $152 million

Feb. 6, 2016

Utility companies project $2-to-6 million in savings to south-central residents

By Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media

The city of Anchorage is buying up part of a natural gas field in Cook Inlet for $152 million. With approval from the Assembly, the Mayor's administration and two utility companies bought a parcel from a major oil company, which they say will benefit energy customers across the city. The purchase adds to an area the city bought in 1996. Since then, the city's electrical utility, ML&P says it has saved $239 million owning the gas instead of buying it from someone else. Chugach and ML&P estimates on future savings range from $2 to 6 million a year. The lease is one of two ConcoPhillips holdings in Cook Inlet that the company is shedding as it puts more emphasis on North Slope holdings.

The financial structure of the deal--a mix of cash and bonds-- is not yet finalized, and will need approval by the Assembly.


Southeast village finds high  mercury levels in seal near Green’s Creek mine outlet

By Elizabeth Jenkins, KTOO-Juneau

The City of Angoon believes high levels of mercury have been discovered in subsistence food caught near Hawk Inlet. And they say Hecla's Greens Creek Mine could be responsible.

Angoon's tribal government is asking for changes with the monitoring and processing of mine waste. Albert Howard, the city's mayor and tribal president, said dead crab initiated the concern.

Last year, a seal was harvested at Hawk Point and brought back to the village to share. Howard said a sample of the tissue was sent to a lab to be inspected.

“And the lab results came back and it's one of the highest levels of mercury seen in the state of Alaska since the seal sample program has taken place,” said Howard.

Howard said the Friends of Admiralty Island has also found elevated toxic metals in seaweed, clams, mussels, shrimp, cockles and crab. It's such a concern that Angoon has warned tribal members not to collect traditional foods in the area.

Howard said he would like to see the city and the mine work together to clean up the water.

“I understand that the mine is important to a lot of people for jobs and revenue into the City and Borough of Juneau, but there's also a responsibility to the community health,” said Howard. “And what I meant by that, is the city council and the tribal council understand the importance of the community's health and our children”

Mike Satre, Green's Creeks spokesperson, said the mine reports a sample on an annual basis.

“I am saying that we meet all the permitted conditions that are put on us by the state for the discharge of our water into Hawk Inlet,” said Satre.

While the reports are annual, Satre said they're based on continuous monitoring and sampling of the discharge water. And they're supplemented with quarterly bio-monitoring and additional sampling of seawater and sediment.

Angoon has requested that Lt. Governor Byron Mallott and Alaska's Department of Health and Social Services look into the matter.

Note: Posted Feb. 21, 2016