This past winter, when Japanese-based company Resources Energy Inc. pulled out of its plans to build a liquified natural gas plant at the Port MacKenzie, the bad news came as a shock.

But Mat-Su Borough officials aren’t giving up.

“We are in many discussions, but we haven’t nailed anything down just yet,” Borough manager John Moosey said.

Right now though, there are plans to try to get ahead of any potential issues the port could run into if multiple industries want to use it. The Borough is asking the state to transfer ownership of 538 acres of its tidelands to expand the port’s territory.

“We’ve been working with the timber industry and the LNG industry and they don’t play nicely together, both those industries,” Moosey said.

He says it could require needing a second dock.

“If we are able to attract the size of industry that we want, this would be helpful for that,” he said.

They wouldn’t be building on the tidelands, Moosey said.

“If we are able to go through the process and acquire this now, it will save a step,” he said.

“When you have these industries, you have to have safety setbacks, clear zones,” he said. “That would help us. Once we have the right client that’s going to use the existing Port MacKenzie dock, we’ll examine to see when we have to move an additional dock.”

Moosey described how if there was a second dock, they would be able to angle it at a different angle “to give that potential separation for safety.” The acquisition of the land from the state wouldn’t cost anything, he said.

Borough Assembly member George McKee said he would rather solve the port’s outstanding problems first.

“The port facility is basically dead in the water until somebody comes up with $130 million to complete the project that hooks it up with a rail spur to the rail,” McKee said.

Moosey says bringing other alternative revenue and income streams will be beneficial and he hopes Port MacKenzie is part of that process.

“We encourage you to look long term,” he said. “We have a great opportunity there. We have 15 square miles of industrial space available and ready to go.”

People can submit public written comments to the Division of Mining, Land and Water, Resource Assessment and Development Section until August 7.

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