More answers on drilling waste site needed

News that AIMM Technologies will indeed host a meeting to provide residents with more information about its proposal to construct a drilling waste monofill in Nikiski is encouraging.

Many Nikiski residents have questions about AIMM's intentions, its plans and about the proposal in general. The idea -- a monofill designed to hold 15,000 tons per year of drilling waste and 1,000 tons per year of nonhazardous hydrocarbon contaminated soil -- is at the intersection of an expanding oil and gas industry and a growing community without zoning regulations.

While we are hesitant to say who might be right or wrong in this case, we do feel the issue needs to be talked about more. This is a forever proposal. It's more than just a formality for residents to comment on the idea -- local voices must shape the fate.

AIMM should also seek to be as open and transparent as possible on the project as well, not just with media, but also with residents.

However, in order to facilitate the discussion, especially as the state considers whether or not to issue AIMM the permit it requested, we would submit these questions to be answered by AIMM and mulled by the community.

* Why did AIMM specifically decide on this location?

* What would be the risk to land resources and groundwater supply if the monofill were to rupture?

* How would a spill or rupture of the fill be cleaned up, and by who?

* Just what contaminates will be in the waste deposited at the site and where will they be coming from?

* Has AIMM studied or is concerned with nearby contamination at the Arness septage site?

* If built, would the monofill indeed change the area's groundwater flow, possibly exacerbating the largely unknown contaminates headed for groundwater from the Arness site?

* Has AIMM done similar projects?

We have heard from at least one Nikiski resident that some locals with opinions might be intimidated to speak out because of their employment within the oil industry. However, it is important for those residents, and all the area's residents, to speak their minds. We need to encourage pubic discourse on this matter and to separate the area's large reliance on the oil industry from its residents planning its future.

AIMM will host the meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center, located at Mile 23.4 of the Kenai Spur Highway. We'd encourage those folks on both sides of the issue to attend.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation will include written comments in the record if received before 5 p.m. on Aug. 10. Write: Nathaniel Emery, ADEC, Solid Waste Program, 555 Cordova Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501; by fax to 269-7600; or email to nathaniel.emery@alaska.gov.

More

Op-ed: A new direction on education

American public school students fall well behind students around the world in math and science proficiency. This is not debatable. According to the Trends in... Read more

State must continue to support fight against opioid abuse

This past week, Gov. Bill Walker signed an administrative order directing state agencies to pursue grant funding to help fight opioid abuse across the state.... Read more

Op-ed: How much do you tip the spy?

You’ve got to eat at the terrace dining room at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. Not only does it have a wine menu, a food... Read more

What others say: Mixing fish and politics in Oregon decision

In an astoundingly ignorant and heavy-handed display of putting urban political correctness ahead of rural jobs, Gov. Kate Brown last week dictated that the citizen... Read more