The Alaskan Department of Natural Resources published a public notice of its preliminary decision to hold the lease.
DNR official Bill Cole said the department had received a request from interested party Alaska Energy for coal leases or prospecting permits in the proposed sale area.
He said when the DNR received requests for coal leasing or prospecting permits the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys evaluated the potential for commercial coal development and ranked the potential as high, low or moderate.
“If the potential is found to be moderate or high, the land is designated competitive and disposal of interest in coal must be sought through a competitive lease sale,” Cole said.
DGGS official James Clough performed a coal evaluation of the ground Alaska Energy proposed and gave a rank of high for those portions underlain by coal.
Public comment has been sought on the DNR’s preliminary decision and interested parties have until November 21 to make their submissions.
A public hearing is to be held at the Wendler Middle School in Anchorage on November 13.