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Vote for our Energy Future

Two Important West Susitna Access Meetings,Setback Ordinance & MEA Board

Mat-Su Borough Setback Ordinance Planning Commission Hearing

 

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 to read the proposed ordinance (OR 23-002, on pg. 1) and supplemental handout (IM 23-002 pg. 3) from the Fish and Wildlife Commission and here for the original Borough information. Click here to read the original Borough ordinance. Click here and here to learn more about riparian zones. The Susitna River Coalition (SRC) recommends that the Borough NOT repeal this ordinance. The SRC believes the ordinance should remain in place and a mandatory 25-foot vegetated habitat buffer should be added to strengthen the ordinance. In addition, the Borough should assist existing landowners repair their buffers to bring properties into compliance. For tips and help with testimony, see this helpful page. If you'd like us to review or help you draft your testimony, we are here to help. Please email us to schedule a time to talk or send us your testimony for review at melissa@susitnarivercoalition.org and margaret@susitnarivercoalition.org. Attend: IN PERSON: Assembly Chambers 350 East Dahlia Avenue, Palmer, AK ONLINE: observe the meeting via the live stream video at: * https://matanuska.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx * https://www.facebook.com/MatSuBorough How to Testify: IN WRITING: * You can submit written comments to leg.com@matsugov.us TELEPHONIC TESTIMONY: * Dial 1-855-225-2326 * You will hear “Joining conference” when you are admitted to the meeting. * You will be automatically muted and able to listen to the meeting. * When the Mayor announces audience participation or a public hearing you would like to speak to, press *3; you will hear “Your hand has been raised.” * When it is your turn to testify you will hear “Your line has been unmuted.” * State your name for the record, spell your last name, and provide your testimony.

 

West Susitna Access Road Update

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AIDEA is currently scheduled to present twice in the Mat-Su.

March 23rd, 12-2 PM, Skwentna Roadhouse, Skwentna, AK

March 31st, 4:30-6:30 PM, Evangelo's Restaurant, Wasilla, AK


We encourage you to attend, ask questions, and hear AIDEA's

new plans for the road.

 


The West Susitna Industrial Access Corridor is still moving forward despite AIDEA's ill preparedness and inability to answer good questions.


So, what has happened since we last offered an update?


In May of 2022, AIDEA submitted their first attempt at a 404 Wetland application to the Army Corp of Engineers. The application was deemed incomplete, and AIDEA was given the opportunity to submit more information.


In September of 2022, AIDEA resubmitted, and the Army Corp. stated the application would be deemed complete pending more information. AIDEA was, yet again, unable to provide the required information, and the application was shelved. In early 2023, the application was resubmitted and is awaiting approval. As they have shown us in their application to the Federal Government, AIDEA brazenly moves forward without providing adequate answers, expecting to push their mega-project through as quickly as possible.


AIDEA has changed their marketing of the project. They are currently selling the project based on public access, but have been consistently unclear about how this would be achieved, the costs, and what the impacts to the region would be. In addition, public access was not a major selling point for members of the Mat-Su. In their own outreach, the Mat-Su Borough demonstrated that an overwhelming majority of constituents were against the road regardless of public access.


The primary goal of the project is not to provide public access for Alaskans. That is simply the messaging that will garner the most 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. This project would undoubtedly move beyond the proposed footprint and promote the industrialization of the region. Already there are proposed coal mines, fracking sites, and timber sales.


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.


AIDEA is currently scheduled to present twice in the Mat-Su.


March 23rd, 12-2 PM, Skwentna Roadhouse, Skwentna, AK

March 31st, 4:30-6:30 PM, Evangelo's Restaurant, Wasilla, AK


We encourage you to attend, ask questions, and hear AIDEA's

new plans for the road.

 

Vote in your Electric Co-Op Board Election Upcoming MEA Board Elections & Events

 

Please join us for our annual virtual MEA Elections Candidate Forum on March 28th at 6PM.


Board candidates will speak to member-owners about their views on the future of energy in Alaska and their commitments to the communities they would be serving. This has been a well-attended and well-viewed event in the past, and we encourage anyone wanting to know more about the candidates to join.


This year, there are nine candidates running for two available at-large seats. All members will be able to vote for their top two candidates. The top-voter winner will serve a four-year term, and the second top-voter winner will serve a three-year term. Information and bios on each candidate will be mailed out along with ballots at the end of March and will be available on the MEA website. Voting will end at MEA’s annual meeting held on April 25th, 2023.


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.


Please contact June at june@susitnarivercoalition.org with any questions. For updates and to learn more take a quick survey online at: bit.ly/utilityalaska


Register for this virtual event here or see the Facebook event page.

 

Spread the Word about MEA Elections

The SRC wants to let MEA members know that it is important for everyone to vote, and that every vote counts. We will be educating member-owners on when and how to vote. If you want to help make a difference in our energy future, come join us for a fun night of phone banking with experienced canvassers.


Come make calls with us, and we’ll buy you a beer!


There are two volunteer opportunities:


Wednesday, March 29, 2023 from 3-7PM.

Location TBD, Palmer, AK.


Wednesday, April 5, 2023 from 3-7 PM.

Beer hall Room at Denali Brew Pub, 13605 E. Main St. Downtown, TKA

Contact June at june@susitnarivercoalition.org for more details.

 

Renewable Portfolio Standards are Back: Senate Bill 101

A Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), Senate Bill 101, was introduced on Wednesday March 15th, 2023.


Passing this bill would set a goal of 80% renewable energy generation by 2040 for the 5 utility co-ops from Kenai to Fairbanks. This bill aims for more collaboration between the utility co-ops, and to diversify Alaska’s energy resources.


Supporting the RPS may help stabilize utility rates and reliability as well as take advantage of current federal infrastructure funding for grid upgrades. The more we diversify our energy grid, there will be less incentive for harmful massive projects such as the Susitna-Watana Hydro project. Learn more here.

 


 

Qualified Charitable Distributions Support the Susitna River Coalition

Did you know that you can donate to the Susitna River Coalition through your IRA using Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD)?


Why would you want to donate through a QCD? Well, the donation does not count as part of your Adjusted Gross Income. This means that your contribution will not be taxed. Additionally, you get tax benefits of giving to a charitable organization. You can also count the amount of the QCD as part of you required minimum distribution.


Some plans allow you to allocate donations through their website. Just enter the amount you want to give, the name of the charity (Coalition for Susitna Dam Alternatives DBA Susitna River Coalition), and a check will be sent!


You can make Qualified Charitable Distributions from your IRA if you are at least 70-1/2 years old and have an individual retirement fund.


For More information contact Melissa at Melissa@susitnarivercoalition.org

or call 907-733-5400.

 

Upcoming Events

Sportsman Shows!


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.


March 24-26th, Mat-Su Sportsmans Show

the Menard Center


April 21-23rd, Fairbanks Outdoor Show

Carlson Center


Soldotna Regional Sports Complex

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