AOGCC schedules hearing after remand
Hollis French, formerly a commissioner and chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, petitioned the commission in 2019 to hold a hearing on a complaint of waste from a North Slope well.
The commission denied the petition on the basis that circumstances surrounding release of gas from the well were the subject of an ongoing investigation.
French appealed to Alaska Superior Court which issued a decision remanding to the commission for a hearing. Superior Court Judge Herman Walker Jr. ruled April 7 that legislative history suggests the Legislature intended that the commission’s clients, among them concerned citizens, have “a forum to raise their concerns and an opportunity to be heard.”
The commission is a quasi-judicial agency, the judge said, and “it is in the public interest that the Commission follow through with the mandate to provide hearings when requested by interested persons and be granted discretion to set hearings in accord with timelines for investigation.”
He said the commission is required to fix a date for the hearing, provide notice, hold the hearing and issue an order.
The commission has scheduled a hearing for June 23 at 10 a.m., and said that due to health mandates, the hearing may be held telephonically.
The petition from French, the commission said, “alleges waste occurred ‘from a well identified as DS02-03B, operated by British Petroleum Alaska.’ According to French’s petition, ‘the well leaked gas into the atmosphere at a very high rate for several days beginning April 14, 2017,’” the commission said in its hearing notice.
The commission will also accept written comments and said to be considered at the hearing, written comments must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. June 22, the day prior to the hearing.
- KRISTEN NELSON