Cook Inlet under attack

Posted: Friday, March 30, 2007

The west side of Cook Inlet is under attack. First there is the ‘Don Young Memorial’ bridge over Knik Arm; then the Canadian Pebble Mine project; and now a multinational corporation wants to dig a huge coal mine on the west side near the town of Beluga. Not only do they want to strip mine, they want to build a two mile long bridge and conveyor to get the coal to a shipping channel in the middle of Cook Inlet (so the coal can be shipped overseas, not for local use.)

On a personal level, I don’t want my beautiful views of ice-jammed Cook Inlet turned into a view of wrecked freighters (remember the Sea Bulk Pride and its recent encounters with sea ice at a short pier in Nikiski.) Nor would I like to witness, or breathe, the black clouds of coal dust that Seward is currently experiencing from the coal transfers there — from a much shorter conveyor system than is planned for the Inlet. What goes up must come down.

On a more global level, there must be a better use of resources than transporting non-renewable coal thousands of miles around the world in energy-inefficient ships. Furthermore, as Beluga whales near extinction, how can it be justified to destroy more of their prime habitat?

Benjamin W.H. Jackinsky


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