No Stimulus for AADC Despite Gov. Palin push

Kodiak Launch Complex

Kodiak Launch Complex

It does not appear that the Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC) will benefit from state stimulus money as was anticipated, Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation President Dale Nash told the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly at a work session Thursday night.

It had been hoped that the KLC would get $35 million to fund planned expansion of the facility. In a Jan. 7 letter to Alaska’s congressional delegation, Gov. Sarah Palin named KLC among the state’s top five priorities for federal funding, calling it “important for the nation’s defense.”

“We are still hoping to get $7 million from the state,” Nash said.

Nash discussed the use of hydrazine at KLC. Hydrazine, a highly toxic compound, is a liquid propellant used primarily to power onboard thrusters of spacecraft. The fact that the fuel will be shipped on-island for an upcoming launch in September was a matter of concern for some citizens.

The KLC operations plan allows the storage of up to 10,000 pounds of hydrazine to be stored onsite, but Nash said the fuel is shipped to KLC for specific missions and is not stored long-term.

Hydrazine is not used in the launch process, Nash pointed out. This will not be hydrazine’s first appearance on the island. The fuel was used in the Kodiak Star launch, one of KLC’s earliest missions in 2001.

“Hydrazene is a highly toxic and volatile chemical” Pam Miller, director of the Alaska Community Action on Toxics, said in a telephone interview.

“The greatest concern is transportation in and out of Kodiak. I feel that AADC isn’t being forthcoming with the community in how this is being handled,” Miller said.

Nash outlined plans to add a third launch pad and rocket storage facility that would make KLC the nation’s first rapid launch facility. The idea would be to store multiple rockets and payloads, so that a launch could be accomplished within 24 hours after notification.

There have been a total of 14 launches from KLC, and three more are planned between September and March of 2010.

The Borough Planning and Zoning Commission is requesting the borough support proposed state legislative amendments in House Bill-74 and Senate Bill-4. The legislation would create a Coastal Policy Board and restore checks and balances to the Alaska Coastal Management Program. This is a move to renovate the program that was gutted by the Murkowski administration.

“This will restore more participation and local control to coastal communities in the decision-making process,” Community Development associate planner Duane Dvorak said.

The Planning and Zoning Commission also is requesting the borough hire a consultant to review and revise the borough zoning and subdivision ordinances.

“The present code is archaic,” Community Development Director Bud Cassidy said.

The Parks and Recreation Committee reported they are ready to send out a request for proposals for drawing up the master trails plan. The plan will consider urban trails and remote trails on the road system.

The assembly reviewed the proposed rezoning of land in Kalsin Bay from C-Conservation to RR2-Residential. Planning and Zoning approved the plan that would allow lot sizes in the Northland Ranch subdivision to be reduced from five acres to two acres. The subdivision plan calls for designating approximately one-third of the land bordering Kalsin River as a conservation easement corridor.

Borough Manager Rick Gifford reported that projects listed for state stimulus money are outpacing available funds. The Rezanof Road project, which would repave Rezanof between town and the Coast Guard Base, is on the list of approved projects, however.

Assembly members Dave Kaplan and Louise Stutes raised displeasure about the manner in which the Omar Stratman hearing was carried out at the last regular borough meeting.

“The borough owes an apology to those citizens who testified and sat for four hours on a stormy night, only to find that Stratman’s request was a moot point,” Stutes said.

The next regular Borough Assembly meeting will be March 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the borough chambers.

Harry Dodge
Kodiak Daily Mirror

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