Local News

Assembly will talk otters, hydro, public notices and more

A sea otter bounty, a proposed hydroelectric project, and the posting of public notices are a few of the items up for discussion and action during the Petersburg Borough Assembly meeting at noon on Monday.

The assembly will consider a resolution in support of legislation aimed at encouraging Alaska natives to hunt sea otters. Sitka Senator Bert Stedman introduced Senate Bill 60. It would require the state pay a hundred dollars for every sea otter that is legally killed. Only Alaska natives may hunt the animals under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The local resolution emphasizes concerns over the impacts of the rapidly growing sea otter population on commercially-harvested shellfish species in the region.

Also Monday, the Assembly will turn its attention to another private company that is applying for a preliminary permit for hydroelectric development in Thomas bay. Just over a year ago, a newly-formed Washington State company called Hydro Development LLC filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to study hydro development at Swan Lake and Cascade Creek in Thomas Bay. Its proposal was nearly identical to that of Cascade Creek LLC. That Washington State company formerly held two consecutive permits which gave it six years of exclusive rights to the same site. Cascade Creek LLC lost its bid for a third permit in January, 2012 after FERC ruled that company had not pursued development of its license application in good faith and with due diligence. The new company applied for the same permit the following month. Hydro Development LLC has since said it used publicly available information for its filing and has denied it has any business affiliation with the former permit holders. Petersburg had opposed the Cascade Creek LLC development. The Assembly will vote Monday on filing a Motion to Intervene in the FERC application process. The borough’s draft letter also urges the federal agency to closely watch the new company to, “ensure that it is not a sham filing by any entities associated with Cascade Creek LLC,” the draft letter says.

In other business Monday, the assembly will discuss criteria on posting public notices for meetings and other information. That issue was prompted by a request from the group Concerned Citizens of the Unorganized Borough for notices to be posted on the boardwalk at Papke’s Landing dock and for clarification on what constitutes a public notice. The assembly took up the issue at its last meeting but postponed more discussion until Monday to give more remote borough residents a chance to give their input.

Monday’s agenda also includes discussion on skating at the community gym, the process for selecting and interviewing police chief candidates, and a final vote on the borough-wide extension of Petersburg’s four-percent transient room tax.

The assembly will talk about these issues and more at the regular meeting which starts at noon Monday in the assembly chambers. KFSK will broadcast the meeting live.

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