Alaska is facing an uncertain economic future. I hope the gas line will move forward, but recent events seem to indicate that project could be farther down the line than we’d all like to think. Our visitor industry is facing extreme competition from other destinations, and we are not doing much to support it when we pass taxes and other provisions like we did in a recent statewide election.
But these are not the extent of our big, self-induced problems.
I’m truly concerned about what is happening to the mining industry. Alaska’s roots are in mining. Many of our towns, most of the roads and many of the trails we enjoy were originally built to support some kind of mining operation. Here we are facing serious hurdles with some of the best job-generating prospects in the state Donlin Creek, Kensington and Pebble.
The Pebble project in particular is a real concern. Pebble’s ore body is still being defined and inventoried. This project is already providing more than 100 jobs to local residents in a region of the state that sorely needs these jobs. I hope all Alaskans will support this project as it moves forward, especially those in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. Who are we, who have good jobs to go to each day, to deny a rural region of the state the same opportunity to good wages and solid employment?
Once operational, Pebble will employ more people than Prudhoe Bay. This could be a real bright spot on our economic horizon.
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