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OSH, CINGSA suit on Kenai agenda

Posted: November 5, 2013 - 10:15pm  |  Updated: November 5, 2013 - 10:21pm

The City of Kenai has entered into a settlement agreement with the Alaska Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health after a September visit to the Kenai Animal Control Shelter resulted in two citations.

Though three of the four parts of the citations were considered “serious” negotiations with OSH resulted in the reduction in severity of two of the charges and the dismissal of a third. No fines have been issued.

“We were in compliance before they ever even issued the citations,” said City Manager Rick Koch.

The citations involved employee training requirements that were past due and a trash can that had been stored in front of an electrical panel.

The citation that was dropped, Koch said, dealt with the potential for transfer of blood-based pathogens.

However, the city cited federal guidelines which do not require a specific program or training be in place to deal with the transfer of the pathogens.

“We provided that information to them and they eliminated that citation,” Koch said.

The city council will also discuss an ordinance appropriating $50,000 to the law firm Boyd, Chandler & Falcolner, LLP to continue its ongoing litigation with Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage.

Briefs by all parties involved, CINGSA, Cook Inlet Region Incorporated and the State of Alaska have been filed, the city must do so in early November, according to a city memo.

“We get the last bite of the apple,” Koch said. “We get to respond to their stuff.”

The lawsuit — originally filed in April, 2012 — seeks a declaratory judgement against the city, the state Department of Natural Resources and CINGSA.

According to the lawsuit, CINGSA entered into an agreement with the state and CIRI over underground storage rights to a reservoir underneath the Kenai River; the city claims ownership of the storage rights.

Specifically, the city contends it owns the rights to the “pore space” used to store the natural gas in the reservoir.

Koch said the lawsuit had been very cordial between the organizations involved.

“What I like about this is that nobody disagrees on the underlying facts. I think that’s kind of cool, this has been very gentlemanly,” he said. “That’s not the norm for a lawsuit.”

 

Reach rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com.

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