Think About It…… August 3, 2010
Alaska is a “resource state” and we as Alaskan need to be very careful when we say “no” to resource development. Very careful, for the sake of all Alaskans and our children.
The Pebble Mine holds 80 Billion pounds of copper, 5.6 Billion pounds of Molybdenum and over 10 Million ounces of gold plus huge amounts of silver and palladium. When authorized for development it will provide 2000 construction jobs for over two years and more than 1000 highly skilled, high wage operational jobs and many business opportunities. The project would pump many millions of dollars in tax revenue into our State and Borough governments.
The Chuitna coal prospect is a proposal by PacRim Coal to build a large strip mine on the western side of Cook Inlet, near the communities of Tyonec and Beluga, where the Kenai Peninsula Borough has already built a large coal loading and docking facility. If built, the project is expected to employ around 350 Alaskans and provide almost $400 million in tax revenue, each year, to the State of Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula Borough for more than 25 years.
Coalbed methane has received a lot of attention in Alaska over the last 15 years, in particular in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley at Wishbone Hill. Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc. is currently building an access road to the site. Usibelli has also applied for a permit from the state to explore for coalbed Methane deposits in the Healy Basin of Interior Alaska near their present coal exporting facility at Healy. If the deposit is large enough, Usibelli would like to provide gas to railbelt utilities, as well as their coal mining operations. The US produces about 1.7 trillion cubic feet of coal methane gas from about 20,000 wells, each year.
The potential for development of natural resources across Alaska is huge. Mining for coal, gold, silver, copper, zinc, molybdenum, oil, and a host of other valuable strategic minerals is very important because Alaska is a “resource state”. Our Alaskan economy depends on it.
Right now, any of the potential mining development and operations in our state must undergo years of environmental research by anyone seeking to bring any kind of mine into production. The list of State and Federal agencies, which must decide if any mining proposal meets all of their environmental requirements, is long and extensive. The environmental list of regulatory requirements and oversight that each one of these dozens of agencies must follow before permitting is approved is overwhelming. Meeting them requires the expenditure of many millions of dollars by all companies seeking mining permits.
However, if we can put a man on the moon, it surely must be possible to mine without environmental damage to our beautiful state and provide the thousands of jobs that we and our children will need in the future.
As Alaskans, let’s not let the greenie, leaf licking, tree huggers, among us, scare us into becoming a place where those seeking to bring about sound and responsible resource development are not allowed to develop environmentally sound projects.
Think About It! JCD 8-3-10