Previous Plan Quashed By Public Pushback
Seven years after public opinion forced Kodiak Airport officials to re-think plans for an airport expansion, the FAA has released a draft Environmental Impact Statement for a second try.
The airport wants to build safety overrun areas at the ends of its runways, but the initial plan would have come too close to the mouth of the Buskin River, which was widely opposed by commenters to the first plan.
The Associated Press reports that the new plan would extend one runway into Chiniak Bay on a landfill extension with the safety area composed of crushable concrete blocks. The runway that is parallel to the river would shift towards a nearby Coast Guard base, and also extend onto the landfill property.
Kodiak Airport is surrounded by the Buskin River State Recreation Area, Barometer Mountain, the Coast Guard base, and the Pacific Ocean.
On a website established to keep the public informed on the project, the FAA says that it will hold a public information meeting and subsequent public hearing for the Draft EIS for Kodiak Airport on Thursday, December 6, 2012 at Kodiak Harbor Conference Center, 211 East Rezanof Drive, Kodiak, AK. At the public hearing, participants can review and provide comments on the Draft EIS. An open house workshop will start at 5:00 p.m. with a formal presentation by project staff at 6:00 p.m., followed by the acceptance of verbal comments on the document.
The FAA says that the proposed Airport improvements would be completed during the 2014-2015 time period and, depending on the alternatives implemented, may result in temporary and long-term impacts to the marine environment and wildlife (including species protected under the Endangered Species Act); water quality; wetlands; historical, architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources; terrestrial wildlife and vegetation; socioeconomic; subsistence; environmental justice; and Section 4(f) resources, which include the Alaska National Maritime Wildlife Refuge, and Buskin State Recreation Site.
The improvements to RSAs would occur within waters that are part of the Alaska National Maritime Wildlife Refuge and cannot avoid filling into lands established by Alaska National Interests Land Conservation Act (ANILCA). As such, the project Sponsor, ADOT&PF, has prepared an application under ANILCA for the use of lands through the ANILCA Title XI process.
(Graphic proviced by the FAA)