Yesterday Kodiak’s Local Emergency Planning Committee and Emergency Services Organization held a quarterly meeting to update members and the public on various happenings.
On the agenda was a briefing from the Alaska Aerospace Corporation, or AAC, regarding the rocket explosion that occurred at the Kodiak Launch Complex in August. The hope was to give local emergency planners an update on where clean up efforts stand, but as committee member Jack Maker said, Alaska Aerospace representatives were a no show.
“Unfortunately, we attempted to get somebody from Alaska Aerospace here and we still have to go through a few more channels. We have to go through their public affairs office and request that they come to a meeting. We will be following up on that and trying to get that at the next meeting. So, unfortunately, they’re a no show.”
Stacy Studebaker is the environmental representative on the emergency planning committee and said she was disappointed by the lack of public comment Alaska Aerospace regarding the aftermath of the rocket explosion.
Studebaker said she and her husband drove out to the launch complex on Sunday and saw what seemed like miles and miles of orange curtains guarding the north side of the road.
“With many, many signs ‘no trespassing,’ ‘hazardous waste’ signs. And all along there and we could still drive down to Fossil Beach, if you could get down the road, and then we hiked around Narrow Cape and then came back that road beneath tower and signs all along there saying ‘hazardous waste, do not trespass.’ And we have heard so little from the AAC about what is actually the issue out there in terms of hazardous waste or pollution or human health risk. So if they’re going to post signs like that I think the public would like to know a little bit more about what specific materials they’re dealing with, or cleaning up, or whatever.”
Studebaker said there are some real concerns coming from the community regarding subsistence hunting and berry picking in that area and it would be nice to have those acknowledged by AAC. Maker agreed and said they would keep pushing for a representative to attend the next emergency planning committee meeting.
“I agree there are some concerns with – you know, the animals can’t read – so if someone is shooting a deer that’s been grazing in that area – I don’t have all the answers and my understanding is it was basically unexploded rocket fuel that they were going to be exploding and burning. And I don’t know about the soil redemption and what they’re going to have to do in that respect.”
Still, Maker said they are valid concerns, and at minimum they will be submitting written questions to the AAC regarding the rocket explosion and what the public should know about hazards in the area.