Native corporation sues Anchorage over landfill gas project

nherz@adn.comOctober 4, 2013 

Bald eagles and ravens search for food in the Anchorage Regional Landfill on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012.

BILL ROTH — Bill Roth / Anchorage Daily News Buy Photo

A local Native corporation is suing the city over what it says is a stinky deal on a methane gas project at the Anchorage Regional Landfill.

Eklutna Inc., headquartered in Eagle River, accuses the city of depriving it of revenues from a system that collects gas from the landfill and sells it to another company, Doyon Utilities. Doyon then converts the gas to electricity for use at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Under a longstanding settlement called the North Anchorage Land Agreement, the city is supposed to split any revenues from so-called "public interest lands" with Eklutna, according to Curtis McQueen, the corporation's chief executive officer.

In a 25-page complaint filed Thursday in Superior Court, Eklutna says it is entitled to half of the money the city gets from Doyon, or to rent payments to compensate Eklutna for use of the land.

The rent payments demanded would amount to as much as $130,000 a month, according to the complaint. The project was expected to generate as much as $48 million for the city, the complaint said, but it's unclear how much of that would be profits that Eklutna could claim.

The city maintains that methane gas from the project stems from improvements made to the land, not the land itself -- which it says negates Eklutna's claims.

"This landfill gas is not like natural gas or minerals that are part of the land itself," the city said in a written statement released Friday morning. "The net income belongs to the people of Anchorage."

Reach Nathaniel Herz at nherz@adn.com or 257-4311.

 

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