This week, the Peninsula Clarion reported extensively about the proposed Chuitna Coal Mine Project in the Beluga coal fields on the west side of Cook Inlet.
While coal can be an inexpensive option to more expensive energy sources like oil and natural gas, it also carries some environmental baggage.
Any mining that is not done to clean environmental standards can cause serious damage to the land, streams and wildlife.
There also can be damage to our air and water if coal-fired power generation is not executed correctly.
The permitting process is the time to make sure the proposed Chuitna Coal Mine will be held to the highest environmental standards. As these permitting processes progress, it should be remembered that Alaska is a resource state that must responsibly develop its resources to secure its economic future.
State-of-the-art mining technologies must be used when building the Chuitna project to protect our lands, waters, wildlife, fish stocks and the industries and the people who rely on these resources.
It only seems prudent to diversify our energy base, and that includes coal.
No matter where we explore for new energy resources in Alaska, we are going to fight the battle of resource development versus resource endangerment. The permitting process is a long and detailed one, but in order to make certain the proposed mine project is developed responsibly, a strong permitting structure and project design that protects our environment must be the highest priority.
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