Kenai signs off on CINGSA permits: City board of adjustment denies appeal

Posted: Friday, January 14, 2011

The Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage Alaska's proposed natural gas storage facility in Kenai is a step closer to reality.

The city's board of adjustment decided that CINGSA met their burden of proof at the December hearing and denied Vincent Goddard's appeal of the permits, said Mayor Pat Porter.

"They will be given their conditional use permits from the City of Kenai," Porter said.

The decision was delivered to both CINGSA and Goddard on Thursday.

CINGSA is a subsidiary of Semco energy. John Sims, from ENSTAR (another Semco subsidiary) said the decision was good news for the project.

"It's another important milestone," he said.

Goddard said he wasn't surprised.

"What we're really waiting for is to see what conditions are added," he said.

The board decided what those conditions would be at the same time as the decision was made, but they have not yet been released.

According to the decision, Goddard can't appeal the decision until the board issues its formal written opinion.

City attorney Krista Stearns said that opinion would be coming out soon, but that the city wanted to make sure the complexities of the appeal and the board members' positions were fairly represented.

"It's worth taking a little extra time to be thorough," she said.

The formal opinion will also include the conditions of the conditional use permits. Initially, the city's permits required that CINGSA comply with all other agencies' permits. Stearns couldn't say what the amended conditions will be.

While Kenai was preparing and delivering its written decision, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska held hearings in Anchorage regarding CINGSA's application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity. The hearings also discussed CINGSA's proposed rates structure, and the company's timeline for building the facility.

The RCA is expected to issue a final order on the certificate by Jan. 31.

Sims said that is another important milestone for the project -- one that could keep it on track, or derail it.

Molly Dischner can be reached at molly.dischner@peninsulaclarion.com.



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