AIDEA Disappoints, Events, Setback Ordinance Update, MEA Elections
Mat-Su Borough Setback Ordinance
In December 2022, a new ordinance (OR-23-002) was introduced to the Mat-Su Borough Assembly, amending MSB 17.55 and MSB 17.80 to allow buildings to be built within 75 feet of a waterbody. The Mat-Su Borough currently requires a setback for structures to be a minimum of 75 feet from the ordinary high-water line. There are currently no habitat requirements in this ordinance. Click here and here to learn more about riparian zones. The Mat-Su Planning Commission heard the proposed ordinance again on April 3, 2023. After the Planning Commission, the ordinance moved on to the Mat-Su Borough Assembly on April 4th. At the Mat-Su Borough Assembly meeting on the 4th, Assembly persons Yundt and Tew requested the item to be pulled from the agenda so the staff could work through modifications. After modifications are made, the ordinance will be brought back for reconsideration. We will make sure to keep you up to date on the proposed modifications and opportunities to weigh in.
West Susitna Access Road Update
AIDEA Disappoints Again
The West Susitna Industrial Access Corridor is still moving forward despite AIDEA's ill preparedness and inability to answer any questions.
Since our last update, AIDEA had two scheduled meetings to update the public on their proposed project. One was to be held in Skwentna, which was unfortunately cancelled due to weather.
A second scheduled meeting took place at the Evangelo's in Wasilla. The meeting was well-attended by more than 100 members of the public. The attendees arrived eager to ask questions and learn more about the project. Unfortunately, much of the public left frustrated by AIDEA's even murkier description of the project and project need, and with more questions than they started with.
At the Evangelo's meeting, AIDEA gave a short presentation before handing the floor over to two separate foreign mining executives eager to benefit from an industrial road that they don't have to foot the bill for. There was little evidence given to demonstrate that the road is being built for the public in the room, and the disproportionate amount of air time given to mining executives illustrated this inconsistency. One member of the public noted that it felt like attending a time share sales pitch.
There was no opportunity for the public to ask questions and learn about what was being sold to them in AIDEA's sales pitch. Comments following the meeting echoed one sentiment: This meeting was a waste of time.
AIDEA cannot put together reasonable answers to good question from the public. They have failed twice now to provide adequate information to the Federal Army Corp for their wetland permitting. In addition, the changes in their messaging shifts at every turn and for every audience.
AIDEA's shifting messaging leads many to ask the question, What is the real West Susitna Access Proposal?
To be clear, the primary goal of the project is not to provide public access for Alaskans. That is simply the messaging that AIDEA is using to garner public support for another boondoggle mega-project. From the beginning, this idea has been pushed forward to support an unproven gold claim being explored by an Australian junior mining corporation.
In the coming months, there will be opportunities to get involved and ask questions as we collectively think about the future that we want to see for our Susitna drainage. Do we want to support this region turned into an industrial zone with irreparable impacts to our current sustainable economies or do we want to support the Alaska that keeps us here-- one that allows for hunting, fishing, and the experiences a wild West Susitna offers.
Please sign our letter to Governor Dunleavy and the Alaska Legislature asking them to stop supporting AIDEA's West Su Industrial Corridor.
Vote in your Electric Co-Op Board Election
MEA Board Elections are Open!
MEA elections are open, giving you the chance to vote for our energy future!
This year, there are nine candidates running for two available at-large seats. All members can vote for their top two candidates. Information and bios on each candidate were mailed out at the end of March. You can learn more here.
The last day to vote online and to mail in your ballot is April 24th or in-person at MEA’s annual meeting on April 25th, 2023.
If you pay MEA bills, you can vote.
VOTE HERE now!
Electing responsible board members who will increase engagement with the member-owners and speak out against harmful projects such as the Susitna-Watana Dam is important. The MEA board makes decisions about where our energy comes from. This impacts rates, reliability and safety.
Proposed Bylaws Changes
In addition to voting for MEA Board members, there are a few bylaws changes proposed.
Summary of Proposed Bylaw Changes 2023:
1. Allow former member debt to be offset with Capital Credits at the Board’s discretion.
This would allow the Board to use capital credits owed to a former member (or an estate) to cover money that a member owes MEA when they leave or pass away.
2. Adding definition of “Patron.”
This adds a definition of patron to make it easier to understand the word when being used in the Bylaws.
3. Amending the definition of a member in “Good Standing.”
This makes it easier for more people to run for the Board. Currently, anyone who has paid all their bills on time for the last three years can run. This new definition includes anyone who has paid bills on time for the last two years with the exception of one time.
4. Recognizing Tribal government in “Entity” definition.
This adds tribal governments to the list of recognized entities in MEA’s service area.
If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Human Powered Travel in the West Susitna Drainage with Luc Mehl
The West Susitna drainage is not only home to incredible opportunities for fishing and hunting, but offers a playground for a wide variety of human-powered adventures. In 2015, Luc Mehl traveled across this wild, roadless portion of our watershed as part of the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic—a grueling annual adventure challenge.
Join the Susitna River Coalition as we welcome Luc on April 11th at 6PM on Zoomand Facebook Live as he shares stories from this memorable Wilderness Classic event. From packrafting to bushwhacking, and the adventures in between, we are excited to hear tales from the trail on the journey from Petersville to Rohn.
Luc Mehl grew up in McGrath, Alaska, on the Kuskokwim River. With graduate degrees from UCSB and MIT, he applies academic and village skillsets to his work as an outdoor education instructor. Mehl has traveled over 10,000 miles by foot, ski, pedal, paddle, and ice skates. He lives in Anchorage.
The Susitna River Coalition is going to be hitting the Sportsman Show Circuit! Come visit our booth and enter a chance to win a trip with Mahay's Jetboat Adventures in Talkeetna! We would love to chat about the West Susitna Industrial Access Corridor, Susitna Watana, Recreation Rivers, MEA Elections, the proposed Setback Ordinance, and all of the good work we have been doing to preserve fishing, hunting, and recreation in the Mat-Su. April 21-23rd, Fairbanks Outdoor Show Carlson Center
May 5-7th, Kenai Peninsula Sport and Rec Show Soldotna Regional Sports Complex