What are we thinking with coal project?

Posted: Friday, January 07, 2011

The Chuit coal project has been around long enough that most people know what it entails. I won't repeat many of the gory details involved with this proposed coal strip mine on the west side of Cook Inlet. I would like to offer a simple comparison just to make a point regarding the seriousness of this project and the potential precedent it delivers.

Imagine picking up the paper one day and seeing an enormous coal strip mine being considered for Funny River or the Russian River, or even Crooked Creek or perhaps Deep Creek and the Anchor. Take your pick. From Hope to Homer, there are coal deposits everywhere on the Kenai Peninsula.

Can anyone honestly say Kenai Peninsula residents would allow the blatant destruction of a major salmon bearing river for 25 years worth of sub-grade coal being shipped to far east Asia, all while lining the pockets of an outside mining company. Would the few extra jobs this creates be worth losing an entire river or one of its tributaries for decades and likely forever?

I think not. Hopefully you feel the same.

In response to a petition filed by local citizens, Department of Natural Resources is holding a public hearing to designate waterbodies within the Chuit River Watershed unsuitable for surface coal mining operations. On Jan. 19, at 6 p.m., at the Challenger Learning Center in Kenai, you will have a chance to speak out and protect wild Alaska salmon. If you are unfamiliar with the Chuit, just think of your favorite salmon bearing river right here on the Kenai Peninsula. It might be next.

Mark Glassmaker


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