Environmentalists sue Alaska over mine gas permit

Posted: Wednesday, December 15, 2010

FAIRBANKS - An Alaska environmental group has filed a lawsuit challenging state approval for a Usibelli Coal Mine plan to look for coal bed methane near Healy.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Healy-based Denali Citizens Council is concerned about what it says is the state's failure to protect sensitive public lands they want exempted from the permit.

The group objects to a June decision by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources allowing Usibelli to explore inside a 200,000-acre perimeter.

If the company discovers natural gas in the area, it would need to follow a separate permitting process before development.

The licensed area includes a combination of public and private land surrounding the Parks Highway between miles 248 and 300 roughly between Healy and Rex in which the state owns mineral rights.

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