By Monte Davis
I have called Alaska home for over 40 years. Anyone who has been here that long knows that we are a resource-driven state – fish, oil, gold, coal and other minerals, timber – unless and until we tap those resources we starve and freeze in the dark. It’s the only reason we have roads and schools and so many of the services we take for granted.
A contingency from Homer fights this, and almost every kind of economic development that isn’t farming, at every turn. I don’t believe they speak for the majority. More often than not they have moved here from somewhere in the Lower 48 in the last one to eight years and will tell you that they know what is best for everyone, all the while pointing fingers at “outside interests” when the oil and gas companies have been here much longer and, in a lot of cases, been better citizens than they. It reminds me of people who get a certain type of religion and say that if you don’t get their type of religion quick you are doomed. Thanks, but no thanks. I prefer to have a job, eat and stay warm.
Every week I see letters saying we shouldn’t be bringing gas to Homer because… We should be looking at alternative energies… we’re running out of gas… it’s too expensive… .
First of all we ARE looking at alternative energies. Everyone is! The truth is at this point the technology is not there. It barely makes economic sense for one individual, let alone a community. We are working on a Tidal Incubator Project here in Homer as we speak, but the name ought to tell you how far that technology has evolved … Incubator!
Secondly, we are NOT running out of gas. Period. Easy gas from Cook Inlet and the North Slope might be running out until more finds are made, but worldwide there is a glut of natural gas and no matter what it will stay considerably cheaper than fuel oil which is what most of us heat with now.
The one other thing I haven’t seen discussed anywhere is how much cleaner natural gas burns than fuel oil. This should be of major concern to those folks talking about alternative energies!
Third, too expensive. Really? Somehow the average Homer resident with a home and a job manages to fill a 300 gallon fuel oil tank twice or three times a year at $4 plus a gallon. Doing the math that comes to somewhere between $2,400 and $3,600 a year. According to the figures on natural gas the average homeowner will save 60 percent of their fuel costs. Let’s just look at the $2,400 figure. 2,400 X .6 = $1,440. $1,440 divided by 12 equals $120. So you could get a home equity loan for the costs associated with having gas brought into your home and replace or refit your furnace and hot water, make $120 a month payments on that loan, thereby paying exactly the same amount as you are right now on an annual basis. At the end of that loan you would see a reduction in costs of $120 a month or $1,440 annually. No more outlay than right now, with an end in sight of much lowered costs!
This IS the bridge we need to get us from here to there. Is the entire assessment fair to every single person? How would that ever be possible? Is it as fair as can be? I think the Homer City council has taken an almost impossible task and done as good a job as possible so that the community as a whole benefits.
Wow what a concept – the community as a whole – they must be leaders or something.
Oh, that’s right, that’s why we elected them!
Monte Davis is executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.
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