Contributions of oil and gas industry should not be forgotten

Posted: Monday, February 14, 2005

As we begin the task of looking at the long-range oil and gas potential of the Cook Inlet area and the future needs for the people and commerce around the Kenai Peninsula and Alaska, we would all do well to stop for a moment and remember the people and families that the petrochemical industry has brought to Alaska and their commitment of their lives and dreams on behalf of us all.

Oil and gas development represents much more than money; it represents decades of employment and realized opportunity by individuals and their families while enhancing the quality of life that the people here now enjoy.

Ed Onstott, my step-father, brought his new family up here as Swanson River was opening in 1961. He worked for Halliburton and then BJ. The Dolly Varden platform would become his second home. He represents one of literally thousands of individuals by whom the oil and gas industry boomed here. His remains lie in the Kasilof cemetery after spending his life's blood in helping the industry that helped him provide for his family. He loved being an oil field worker and the people with whom he labored.

During college, I worked during two summers on platforms in Cook Inlet. I worked with the crews who rebuilt the King Salmon after the accident that took a life the previous summer. One should never forget that oil field work is tough and dangerous. Next, I worked on the Monopod, which is an engineering marvel. The applied technology of the oil industry has given the human mind a vehicle in which dreams become real.

As we think of our roads, schools, business centers and churches, both past and present, please remember that without the people who have spent their lives in the petrochemical industry almost nothing would have happened. The Kenai Peninsula and Alaska would not shine as bright without them.

Mayor Dave Carey, Soldotna

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