Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 4:04 PM on Wednesday, November 30, 2011

HEA plans polarize peninsula

An open letter to the board of directors and members of Homer Electric Association, regarding hydro plans for Grant Lake and Creek:

Over the past four years, I have watched as the initial HEA plans to create hydroelectric projects on five tributaries of the Kenai River have been cut back to one, being Grant Lake and Creek.

It is interesting to me that the board of directors would look so seriously at projects that could and would impact the precious watersheds of the Kenai Peninsula's biggest economic engine, namely the Kenai River, yet there does not seem to be public concern about it.

In addition, these projects, every one of them, are located outside of the HEA service area. But of course those folks are not members of HEA, and their voices have been ignored. What this has created is a polarization in the Kenai Peninsula, that is growing and pitting the eastern portion of the peninsula against the west.

Being a Homer resident of long-standing, I can recall other instances of the polarization, and fought it for so many years. Up until these projects were proposed, that polarization by and large was under control. But it is back, and I am so sorry to see that. It does not bode well for the borough.

The Grant Lake/Creek project and the others are not Bradley Lake, which was located within the HEA service area, and did not impact a major anadromous waterway. If the Grant Lake/Creek project is approved, it will set the precedent and open the door for approval of all the projects.

Folks, for those of you dependent on the Kenai River, I hope you will pay attention. HEA has already applied for a grant to build the project, even though they, at this time, do not have permission to build it. Obviously, they have confidence that they will.

For the board of directors, I respectfully request you look at this project long and hard, and consider the damage that will be done, in relationships in the borough and damage to our precious Kenai River. HEA does not service the entire borough, but it has a moral responsibility to act in the best interest of the entire borough.

I ask, please, withdraw these plans. There are other, better ways to generate electricity.

Milli Martin