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Coal Mine Opponents, Supporters Gather In Sutton For Last Public Comment Hearing

November 15, 2011|Jason Lamb | Channel 2 News

SUTTON, Alaska — In Sutton Tuesday night, a controversial proposal has hundreds of people ready to sound off to the state Department of Natural Resources about the proposed Wishbone Hill coal mine that would be built just outside of the small Matanuska Valley town.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources wants to hear what people who live near the proposed mine have to say about it.

At a hearing that started at 6 p.m. at Sutton Elementary School, the sign-up list to speak in front of the three DNR officials running the meeting quickly ballooned to more than 300 people.

Usibelli Coal Mine wants to build the proposed Wishbone Hill mine, and supporters say the mine would provide around 100 high-paying jobs for the area, boosting the economy while promoting resource development.

"I think Alaska has a responsibility to its citizens to develop its resources.  Not just this mine, but other resources throughout this state," said Ingrid Shaginoff -- one of the many who spoke in support of the proposed Wishbone Hill mine.

Those against the mine say it would put public health at risk and lower the value of nearby homes.

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"I’d actually be willing to bet that none of you sitting here right now would want to locate your families within one mile of this mine," said Carly Wier, one of the speakers who spoke against the mine.  "There are over 100 families that live within one mile of where this mine would be located."

Tuesday night was the last opportunity for people to speak to the Department of Natural Resources about the Wishbone Hill mine proposal.

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