I just attended a presentation by the Alaska Miners Association about the PacRim Chuitna Coal Project, enlightening to say the least. The amount of work and research that PacRim has done with the fish population of the Chuit River, environmental impacts on the area, and the use of new equipment and technologies more than proves that mining and salmon can coexist.
A minimum 25-year mine life, production rate of up to 12 million tons a year, 200 badly needed jobs reclaimed for the Cook Inlet area, and a cheaper attentive energy source for our area is just a few of the reasons I have became excited about this project. With Agrium, Phillips LNG, and Ocean Beauty closing down their operations, we have an obligation to find other projects and industries to fill the voids in our local economy.
I read an article in the Anchorage Daily News that was full of emotion and new words like "wrecklamation." This article has very little facts about the project other than its location and that this Alaskan pioneer family from Beluga is vary against this project. I respect their opinions; however the state's permit process must proceed. I believe the Heilmans are just the type of Alaskan folks who will guarantee the project keeps the standards presented and the state requires. The project is going to mine coal from under a salmon stream that flows into the Chuitna River if the state grants the permits, and a huge amount hurdles are overcome. In no way is this project going to destroy any salmon streams. It will enhance the salmon run and the salmon stream with proven as well as new techniques used by the State of Alaska as well as other states to allow progress of roads, lakes, and other industries.
The Kenai Peninsula needs this and other projects to move forward. I call on borough Mayor Dave Carey, Rep. Mike Chenault, Gov. Sean Parnell, and all residents of the Peninsula to look at the facts, all of the facts, ask questions, demand answers, and make a decision about this project. For it or against it, if a person has used all the facts and information available for their decision it will be closer to the right one. Decisions made on mostly emotions may be this country's biggest down fall.
Joe A. Bryant, Soldotna
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