Borough should be pushing for development of Beluga fields

Posted: Monday, December 27, 2004

It will be a shame if the only movement on opening the Beluga coal fields goes down the tubes with Attorney General Renkes.

I ran for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in 1982 with a major emphasis on moving forward with the development and production from the Beluga coal fields. If the fields had been developed, we would not now be facing a natural gas shortage in Southcentral. It is now 22 years later, and the only thing that has occurred to make this happen is the work by Attorney General Renkes. Absolutely nothing has been done by anyone else!

The Kenai Peninsula Borough has had an economic development district since 1988. Nothing out of them about Beluga! The current borough mayor created a separate economic development department as part of the borough government. Nothing from them! And over the years, millions have been spent on these two entities, which only created jobs for the entities' staffs!

Nothing from anyone even after the University of Alaska and the Healy coal outfit got tens of millions in grants to convert Beluga-type coal to a fuel oil-like product that could be used in power plants and as bunker fuel for large ships. Since it made major news stories, none can claim ignorance.

Considering that Agrium will be closed by next Christmas and the Phillips LNG plant a few years later, what is going to happen if the development of the Beluga coal fields goes down in flames with Renkes? Will our local government officials, especially the borough, sit on their thumbs for another 23 years while the peninsula economy tanks? Please Santa, bring enlightenment to these movers in the dark.

William J Phillips


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