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Kantishna Micro-Hydro Bill Brought Before Energy Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Legislation sponsored by Alaska's U.S. Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski was brought up during today's subcommittee hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The Kantishna Hills Renewable Energy Act of 2010 would facilitate the permitting and construction of a micro-hydro project inside the non-wilderness part of Denali National Park and Preserve.

"Hydropower is a clean renewable source of energy that can play a vital role in our energy future and it makes sense to allow its development within the park's boundaries," Murkowski said. "This project will reduce congestion on the park road and improve the area's air quality."

"A micro-hydro project will reduce the Kantishna Roadhouse's diesel consumption. This means better air quality for the park, fewer truck trips on the single park road, a better experience for all park visitors and a better bottom line for the Kantishna Roadhouse," Begich said.

The bill directs the National Park Service to issue a special-use permit to speed construction of the hydro project and authorizes a 10-acre land exchange between Doyon and NPS.

The project, consisting of a small weir on Eureka Creek would provide power to the Kantishna Roadhouse, a backcountry lodge owned by Doyon. Located 100 miles within the park, the lodge is not connected to any utility grid and generates its own power. The micro-hydro project, consisting of 50 watt power plant, a small impoundment dam and a pipeline, would allow Doyon to substantially reduce their use of diesel. 

Eureka Creek is not a fish bearing stream. NPS assisted in the drafting of the legislation and welcomes both the project and additional lands it would gain from Doyon in the exchange.

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