Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 4:56 PM on Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gas line is not the answer

Many continue to see natural gas in Homer as a panacea to the onslaught of issues brought on by peak oil. Once again I disagree.

The world of natural gas continues to accumulate data showing:

* An environmentally dangerous process of extraction.

* An industry incapable of regulating itself.

There are a number of studies showing contamination of shallow and deep ground water around drilling sites throughout the country. Water that many rely on for drinking, irrigation and hydrating their live stock.

Recently there have also been articles uncovering an industry that was created on overstated claims and maintained by accounting trickery. As profits have failed to materialize, the original operators are now moving into joint ventures with deep pocketed partners. However, deep pockets cannot change a faulty foundation with unprofitable market economics without a market, or manipulated, adjustment in price.

Best case scenario: the gas pipeline is extended to Homer and we have, for some period of time, a "clean" and "affordable" energy source. Worse case scenario: the industry decreases flow and adjusts pricing up in order to turn a profit coupled with contamination of ground water that runs through to the Anchor River. The industry track record, current data and one's definition of "clean" and "affordable" gives worse case, or partial worse case, a much higher probability.

A town the size of Homer should have the ability to quickly change its energy strategies toward alternative sources with better economics and environmental outcomes than natural gas. Once again I would suggest that we put our focus and energies onto these alternatives instead of gas and oil.

Kevin Kreitz