The Chuitna Coal Project is a proposed surface mining and export development located in the Beluga Coal Field of Southcentral Alaska, approximately 12 miles northwest of the Native Village of Tyonek and 45 miles west of Anchorage. The proposed project is based on the development of a 300 million ton, ultra-low sulfur, subbituminous coal resource, the center of which is approximatedly 12 miles from the coast of Cook Inlet.
The project area is largely undeveloped except for a system of primitive roadways that remain as a result of past oil and gas exploration and production and logging activities. Land ownership in the project area consists of a combination of public (State of Alaska, Mental Health Lands Trust, and Kenai Peninsula Borough) and private entities (Tyonek Native Corporation, Cook Inlet Region, Inc. and individuals). The Alaska District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is serving as the lead federal agency for preparation of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the proposed Chuitna Coal Project to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and serve as a basis for the USACE permit decision regarding the project.
Project HistoryThe proposed project design was evaluated in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and permitted by most of the applicable state and federal regulatory programs in the early 1990s. However, the project did not proceed to development due to the decline in coal market prices.In 2006, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) applications were filed with the EPA for the proposed project. Substantive changes were made to the proposed project design and in the regulatory requirements since the initial permitting and EIS process in 1990. As such, the EPA commenced activities in 2006 for a comprehensive, stand-alone SEIS to be prepared for the proposed project.On October 31, 2010, the EPA's authority to issue and enforce NPDES permits in Alaska was transferred to the State of Alaska. Consequently, the EPA discontinued their role as a lead federal agency and the USACE accepted the role to continue the SEIS development process under the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 (33 United States Code [USC] 1344) permit for the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the U.S., including wetlands and under the Rivers and Harbors Act Section 10 (33 USC 403) permit for the construction of any structure in or over any navigable water of the U.S. and the excavation and depositing of materials in such waters. Potential impacts associated with the proposed project will be documented in the SEIS to provide the basis for the USACE's decision on the Section 404 and Section 10 permit applications and to provide a basis for determining compliance with Section 404(b)(1) guidelines.
Additional details of the proposed project can be accessed here: Applicant's Proposed Project