Veneer plant faces problem with log storage permit

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2003

KETCHIKAN (AP) -- The Ketchikan Gateway Borough could be facing an uphill battle in getting the local veneer plant running again.

The state and federal permits that allowed Ketchikan Pulp Co. and later Gateway Forest Products to store logs in Ward Cove is no longer valid.

That means the borough must apply for an individual permit, which is more difficult to obtain, said Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation log transfer facility manager Dave Sturdevant.

Alaska Forest Association Executive Director Owen Graham said he was asked by the borough to draft its log transfer permit application. If the borough doesn't get the permit to store logs in Ward Cove, Graham said the veneer plant likely won't be viable.

''Their only option if they can't use the cove is they would have to barge logs. That is so costly that it would likely preclude the borough from operating the veneer plant,'' Graham said.

Borough Manager Roy Eckert agreed. ''Without the log transfer permit I think you would have a real problem making it happen,'' Eckert said. The borough has been hoping to sell the veneer plant to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, which has said it would not purchase the facility without a log transfer permit in place.

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