Let governor, legislators know Kachemak Bay is special place

Posted: Friday, January 30, 2004

Kachemak Bay is special a great place to visit. Rich marine resources and breathtaking vistas supporting a productive and, for Alaska, remarkably stable economy. Kind of a latter day, northern maritime Eden. Gov. Jay Hammond and the 1976 Legislature decided to protect it from industrial development and bought back oil and gas leases previously sold here. In 1999, the region was excluded from the areawide oil and gas leasing program for the same reasons.

Then coal-bed methane slithered unnoticed into the garden. By the time we knew, the state Department of Natural Resources had leased Lapp Resources 22,000 acres right here in Eden! Lapp then subleased most of it to Unocal. But Unocal isn't interested in coal-bed methane. Unocal wants deep gas wells. Under the shallow gas leasing program, it can get them too, without competitive bidding or all the bothersome regulations of areawide leasing.

And DNR's recent "moratorium" on shallow gas development doesn't cover exploration. Unocal already hired an outfit called EDCON to do seismic work. We may see those drilling rigs

any time. Pretty clever. Slip quietly back into Kachemak Bay on the cheap, then pump up your investment in exploration to make another buyback too costly for the state! Who says there aren't snakes in Alaska?

Like visiting Homer and Kachemak Bay as they are? Call or write the governor and your legislators. Tell them to stop exploration, buy back the leases, and keep these slippery critters out of the garden forever. One bite from this apple and Eden's history.

Mike O'Meara, Homer

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