Senators sponsor bill to speed permitting for hydro project in Denali park 

By Sean Manget of the Alaska Journal of Commerce: Alaska’s U.S. senators have co-sponsored a bill that would speed the permitting process necessary to construct a small micro hydro power generator in Denali National Park and Preserve. Dubbed the Kantishna Hills Renewable Energy Act of 2010, the bill would authorize U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to issue the construction permit within the park’s nonwilderness area. It would also allow for a land exchange between Doyon Tourism Inc. and Denali National Park and Preserve.

The bill has gone to committee in both chambers of Congress, with Rep. Don Young sponsoring a House version. The generator would supplement a diesel generator used by the Kantishna Roadhouse, a lodge run by the tourism arm of Doyon Ltd., an Alaska Native regional corporation. At present, the generator burns 110 gallons of diesel fuel per day, which equates to nearly 10,000 gallons a season, said Elwood Lynn, assistant superintendent of operations for Denali National Park and Preserve.

While the new project wouldn’t completely replace the old generator, it would help reduce the number of trips taken to the lodge by the trucks that supply the fuel, Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski said in a joint statement. Read more

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