State did not adequately notify residents of coal bed methane lease

Posted: Monday, October 27, 2003

I never saw the state's one-day notices of Lapp Resources' 20,000-acre coal bed methane lease in the Homer area published in the Anchorage Daily News and Peninsula Clarion legal columns. It is no oversight that notices were not given to Homer's two papers! Homer residents rely on notices in the Homer News and Homer Tribune and notification of local groups. Maybe the state did not want property owners to know our land was being leased out from under us.

Consequently, landowners like myself whose property is leased by Lapp Resources missed the legal comment period and now have lost their right to appeal the lease. I thought due process protections of the Alaska Constitution would have required the state to tell me before it leased my land.

Maybe the state wanted to circumvent public participation in a lease it knew would be controversial. Oil leases in Kachemak Bay were repurchased nearly 30 years ago, and the oil and gas industry still harbors considerable interest here.

Affected property owners should challenge the constitutionality of this improper notification process by writing legislators, the governor and the Division of Oil and Gas.

The state should buy the leases back and start over again with proper public notice and regulations to govern coal bed methane development in place to protect residents anywhere in Alaska where this type of development is proposed.

Nina Faust, Homer

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