Expert Comments on the Proposed Chutina Coal Strip Mine

The experts agree, the proposed Chuitna coal strip mine is bad for salmon, bad for Alaskans and will result in loss of a important salmon runs. Expert comments from Dr. Margaret Palmer, Mitchell Swanson, Lance Trasky, Dr. David Chambers and Dr. Tom Myers.

Expert Comments


Testimony by expert witnesses before the Alaska Senate Judiciary Committee
March 2, 2012

Abstract: Testimony given before the Alaska Senate Judiciary Committee about the feasibility of reclamation of the Chuitna watershed after 25+ years of open pit strip mining as it pertains to setting permit bonding amounts.  The question at hand was “how much does it cost to build a salmon stream from scratch?” The answer is that re-creation of a salmon stream is not possible, therefore no amount would be sufficient.

Testimony of Dr. Margaret A. Palmer, Professor and Director, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland. Download  Dr. Margaret Palmer’s Expert Comments
Testimony of Lance Trasky. Download Mr.Lance Trasky’s Expert Comments.
Testimony of Dr. David Chambers. Download Dr. David Chamber’s Expert Comments


Expert Comments on DNR denial of petition to designate the stream beds and riparian areas of the Chuitna Watershed as unsuitable for coal strip mining (ULP).

Abstract: On October 24, 2011, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources denied the petition by the Chutina Citizens Coalition and Cook Inletkeeper seeking to designate stream beds and riparian areas of the Chuitna watershed as unsuitable for coal strip mining (ULP).  Relying on the word of PacRim Coal, DNR claims the  re-creation of a vibrant, wild Alaskan salmon stream is “technically feasible.” Independent, scientific experts disagree.  A survey of existing literature  failed to provide a single example of the successful re-creation of a wild salmon stream after it total removal.  Below are the comments submitted to DNR regarding the denial of the petition.

Review of ADNR decision denying petition to designate lands unsuitable for surface coal mining.
By Mitchell Swanson
Download Mr. Swanson’s Expert Comments. (~78 kb)

Review of Rejection of Petition to Designate the Streambeds of Anadromous Water bodies and Riparian Areas within the Chuitna River Watershed as Unsuitable for Surface Coal Mining Pursuant to A.S. 27.21.260.
By Lance Trasky
Download Mr. Lance Trasky’s Expert Comments . (~168 kb)

Review of ADNR Detailed Statement of Findings and Decisions on Petition Requesting that the Streambeds of Anadromous Waterbodies and Associated Riparian Areas in the Chuitna River Watershed be Designated as Lands Unsuitable for All Types of Surface Coal Mining Operations
By Dr. Tom Myers
Download Dr. Myers’ Expert Comments. (~7 mb)

Expert Comments on Denial of Unsuitable Lands Petition (ULP) by ADNR dated 10/24/11
By Dr. Margaret Palmer
Download Dr. Palmer’s Expert Comments. (~311 kb)


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