A non-profit environmental law firm filed a protest with the state of Alaska Sept. 27, stopping the clock on a Bristol Bay basin exploration license due to be issued to a company owned by Native elders from the Bristol Bay Region. The filing by Trustees of Alaska also resulted in the loss of an investor for Bristol Shores LLC, a company formed by the Native elders to generate a natural gas industry that would eradicate the poverty brought on by the decline of the Bristol Bay fisheries.
In its paperwork asking for the state to reconsider the best interest finding on the 329,113-acre exploration license around the community of Dillingham, Trustees listed its clients as Alaska Coalition, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Pamela A. Miller of Arctic Connections, and the Northern Alaska Environmental Center.
George Shade, president of Bristol Shores, and Jere Allan, president of The Bay Group LLC, view the filing as a form of harassment.
The Bay Group, a management firm working for Bristol Shores, has been seeking private investors to fund gas exploration in the license area. Allan said they’ve lost one investor as a result of the filing.
Before Trustees filed its request, Bristol Shores had 30 days from Sept. 7 to decide whether to accept the exploration license. The final finding for the license is now on hold pending reconsideration by the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.
“Once the commissioner makes a final determination on the request for reconsideration, assuming that the decision is to proceed with the license, then that would begin another 30 day (decision) period for Bristol Shores,” a state Division of Oil and Gas official Petroleum News.
Editor’s note: See full stories in the Oct. 17 edition of Petroleum News.