Forest Service issues revised EA for Katalla
Kristen Nelson, PNA editor-in-chief
The U.S. Forest Service has issued a revised environmental assessment for Cassandra Energy Corp.’s proposed oil and gas drilling near Katalla southeast of Cordova. The drilling will be on private land; the assessment focuses on access.
Chugach National Forest Supervisor Dave Gibbons said in an Sept. 24 letter that the Forest Service decided to revise the document after the Alaska Department of Fish and Game objected to one of the alternatives in the original assessment, and suggested a modification. That suggested modification, Gibbons said, became a new alternative, No. 4. The alternatives are: No. 1, no action; No. 2, an ocean-going barge would off load equipment and supplies at a site on the west side of the Katalla River on state land and a shallow-draft small barge would move equipment and supplies some 1.5 miles up the Katalla River where the riverbank would be graded to create an access ramp.
Both the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Habitat Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service suggested having the barge landing site about 500 feet downstream from the site proposed in Alternative No. 2. “They felt that there would be less disturbance of the river bank at this location and less of a chance of introducing sediments into the river and downstream spawning channels,” the Forest Service said in the revised assessment.
Alternative No. 3 is similar to No. 2, except that the operator would built a one-half mile temporary road.
Alternative No. 4, the new alternative, is similar No. 2, except that the operator would build approximately 550 feet of new temporary road from the end of the old existing roadway to a gravel bar downstream on the east bank of the Katalla River.
The Forest Service said that the river bank at the No. 4 location “is a gradual slope that would not require any excavation for an access ramp.”