A meeting has been called to review and discuss APT’s hydropower proposal for the Chilkoot. (The meeting is at 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 27at the ANB Hall). They are studying the valley and have asked for fast-track permitting (i.e., minimal public input).
As always, it’s easy to see why APT wants to build this. Any huge public works project is a gravy train for the builder, and this kind doesn’t even go out to bid. Also, it would provide five times the power that they could sell in Haines from a facility that we paid for (go figure), thus giving them a generous amount to sell elsewhere. This incidentally would make Haines the minor customer, but with the major risk since as so much of our economic base (fisheries, tourism) is in that valley.
As U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski pointed out recently, Congress isn’t exactly rolling in dough any more, and the State of Alaska doesn’t have endless amounts of money, either. This means that if this is to be built, likely we’ll be paying for it ourselves to a large extent, in taxes and increased electricity bills and so on. Turning that lovely valley into an industrial site in order to raise our electricity rates (and make AP&T rich) seems a bit questionable. And if AP&T gets the fast-track permitting that they want, this may be your last chance to ask questions. There are a lot of other ways to produce power, but no other Chilkoot.