Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 6:49 PM on Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Is anyone out there?

I begin my comment with this pleading question because when it comes to the issues surrounding development of the Chuitna Coal Project by Pac Rim the decision makers do not want to acknowledge the facts. A meeting will be held in Kenai on Jan. 19 at 5 p.m. concerning whether or not it is acceptable to run a coal mine through a salmon spawning stream in the Chuitna watershed area on the west side of Cook Inlet.

Common sense and considerable scientific data should prompt decision-makers to say, what is there to discuss? Who would want to ruin a very productive spawning process that feeds the critical salmon industry in the northern Cook Inlet? It seems that both state and local decision-makers do.

The state Department of Natural Resources, despite its claims of "a rigorous permitting process," allowed former commissioner Irwin on a junket to Japan to promote the Chuitna Coal Project as a done deal even though no final permits had been issued. Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dave Carey, in his presentation outlining the borough's goals for 2011, stated the objective of getting the Chuitna Coal Project going. This is despite all the data given to him showing the damage to the communities of Beluga and Tyonek and the spawning rivers in the area. In addition, there have been repeated requests from the citizens of Beluga for him to come visit his constituents so he would better understand their concerns.

Despite promises to do so he has never come nor has any member of the borough. Hope remains that the result of the Jan. 19th hearing will be that the decision-makers will review the overwhelming data showing the Chuitna basin unsuitable for coal mining and reject Pac Rim sending them back to Texas. Thus far in the process there has been little to be optimistic about.

People wonder why lawsuits are so rampant. Maybe it is because good, hard-working residents of the state despite their best efforts to work within the system become desperate when no one answers their question.

Is there anyone out there?

Ward Grant