Connelly hydro a boondoggle
Hydropower is a great resource and one that currently provides most of our energy needs in the upper Lynn Canal.
Alaska Power and Telephone’s push to build a mega hydro facility in the Chilkoot valley is a misguided boondoggle.
They can’t afford it and neither can we. The pressure is on right now to secure public dollars to fund further studies
and push this project forward. The public will end up paying for Connelly Lake hydro for many years to come,
economically and environmentally.
The Schubee Lake alternative was cast off as being too expensive. The proposed Connelly Lake site will cost just
as much to develop, perhaps more than $75 million dollars. While it is in the best interest of the shareholders of AP&T to bring in the big customers like mines and cruise ships, Haines residents will pay the price. The Chilkoot Valley is sensitive salmon and wildlife habitat, part of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve and no place for an industrial project and facility.
AP&T should redirect their focus, energy and dollars on developing the West Creek hydro site in Skagway in
conjunction with the municipality, which has expressed interest in partnering on the development. This is a much
better alternative, close to the cruise ships, close to the Yukon’s population center and no salmon habitat and fishery economy to disrupt. Add a wind power facility while you’re at it, a currently untapped resource, and combined that equals a win-win alternative.