Thank you, Matt Boron, for your letter commending the years of service by DOT Commissioner Pat Kemp. He is a true Southeast Alaskan, born in Ketchikan and raised in Juneau.

Pat began with DOT after high school, worked hard, went to college and ascended to the highest level of state engineer. Over the years he worked on airports, harbors, highways, ferry terminals, and buildings from Southeast to the Arctic. He earned our thanks by his 30-plus years of work on public projects. We were fortunate to have someone in the commissioner’s office who understood our local challenges.

Some in our community celebrate Kemp’s removal from DOT because of his support for the Juneau road. I would like to offer a counter opinion. The road makes sense from both an economic and environmental perspective. When a mainline ferry going from Juneau to Skagway burns 1,000 gallons of diesel and exhausts numerous pollutants into our atmosphere at large expense, it makes good sense to envision a lower-cost, pollution-free drive to Juneau in a modern vehicle using renewable energy.

Opponents of the road will never overcome this disparity. It’s no small matter that the burning of petroleum is dangerously warming our planet. It is also significant that the oil we have is finite, and we derive from it almost everything that permits us to live our modern lives. Conserving it is sensible and necessary. Pat Kemp was helping us to do just that.