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May 2019

Vol. 24, No.18 Week of May 05, 2019

French appeals AOGCC decision to court

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

Hollis French has appealed a decision of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in Alaska Superior Court.

His appeal, dated April 22, cites failure of the commission “to calendar a hearing on waste from a North Slope well.”

French was formerly a commissioner and chair of AOGCC. When he was on the commission, he disagreed with the other two commissioners on the scope of the commission’s authority.

He was removed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy for cause - but not for disagreeing with the other commissioners - on Feb. 26 (see story in March 3 issue of Petroleum News).

On Feb. 28, French requested hearings on two separate complaints of waste, both from events which occurred in 2017, one concerning a fuel gas leak in Cook Inlet and the other concerning a gas leak from a North Slope well.

On March 20 the commission denied both requests.

French appealed those decisions to the commission April 8.

The commission had 10 days from French’s appeal to grant or refuse the application for reconsideration, with failure to act a denial.

On April 22, French appealed the commission’s decision on the North Slope well to the Alaska Superior Court for the Third Judicial District.

He told the court the commission erred by: “Failing to calendar a hearing on waste from a North Slope well.”

In denying French’s petition for a hearing on a complaint of waste from the DS02-03B well, which occurred in April 2017, Dan Seamount and Jessie Chmielowski, the current AOGCC commissioners, said:

“The circumstances surrounding the release of gas from the DS02-03B well are the subject of an on-going AOGCC investigation. A hearing prior to the conclusion of that investigation would be premature.”

French had said in his request for a hearing that “the well leaked gas to the atmosphere at a very high rate for several days beginning April 14, 2017.” He wanted the hearing to urge AOGCC to take action on his complaint.

- KRISTEN NELSON






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