Inside Alaska business

Appeals court faults discharge permit

A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel has ordered federal regulators to fix a problem in the permit they approved allowing Chevron and other Cook Inlet operators to discharge wastewater into the Inlet.

Cook Inletkeeper, two Native villages and a commercial fishing group are suing to overturn the permit. They say it allows the Inlet's oil companies to dump too much pollution into the Inlet.

In March, the EPA asked the 9th Circuit to allow it to remedy what the agency calls a "procedural error" in the permit before the case goes to trial. Last Thursday, the 9th Circuit remanded the permit back to the agency to rectify the error.

EPA says the problem with the permit is that it contained some less-stringent pollution limits that had not been put out for public comment before the limits were approved, as required. The pollutants include mercury, copper and hydrocarbon compounds. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is in charge of releasing that information for public comment, but it failed to do that, according to the appeals court.

"EPA routinely penalizes our fish processors when they dump organic matter back into the ocean," said Roland Maw, executive director of Cook Inlet's largest commercial fishing organization, the United Cook Inlet Drift Association. "Yet they let the oil and gas industry dump billions of gallons of toxics into Cook Inlet each year."

Bristol Design Build Services honored

Bristol Design Build Services has been honored by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration Voluntary Protection Program for its safety standards while developing a Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facility at Fort Lewis, Wash.

Participants in the program "maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries," the company said. Getting in the program involves executing the best management practices recognized by OSHA every day, it said.

Bristol is owned by Bristol Bay Native Corp., an Anchorage-based Native corporation for the Bristol Bay region.

Separately, Bristol Design Build said it won two Army Corps of Engineers contracts this summer:

• A $14 million contract for the four-story, 400,000-square-foot Marine Corps Reserves Headquarters in Federal City/New Orleans. The project involves offices, training facilities, a commissary and exchange, a barber shop and other amenities. The work began in June and is to be done in May.

• A contract worth more than $12 million for a Thermal High Altitude Defense Battery and a trucking facility at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Anchorage Daily News /