SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Over the Horizon... Too late?
By Ken Bylund


March 04, 2009
Wednesday PM

The ideal human trait is to look ahead and see whether we are going to eat or get eaten. We have shelter... good. Food and water, plentiful enough for our everyday needs. What is at risk is energy... electrical power - that magical helper we take for granted - it pumps water into your shelter to bathe, drink, cook, wash, and yes... flush the toilet. It enables the furnace, electric space heaters, stoves, washer, dryer, refrigeration, freezers, keeps the plumbing from freezing solid, the source that keeps us alive depends on hydroelectric reservoirs that are out of sight and [unfortunately] out of mind.

Today Swan Lake's water level is more than 30 feet below normal; does this look promising for our town's survival? More and more it looks likely we will be on Diesel Generators [$urcharge] in early spring. Fuel brought up on barges - this is the single most important survival decision our leaders must face - time to look out for the one precious resource that enables us to survive as a community.

Mahoney Lake hydroelectric potential is estimated to deliver 46,000 MWh per average year and only five [5] miles away. This capital project should be our immediate action item - IMMEDIATE!!! Pick up the phone now, write e-mails, letters, to the Governor, Senators, Congressman, and your Mayors. This is everyone's wakeup call, merchants, fishermen, bankers, rich or poor!

The Tyee Intertie is to be shared with Wrangell and Petersburg; likely not enough left over to help us with these annual shortfalls that seem to eat us alive in Diesel Surcharges and is fifty-seven [57] miles of above ground towers and cabling - maintenance and repair must be challenging enough for our linemen in summer but imagine working to repair downed lines in our hostile weather months.

Electrical Power is our Achilles Heel - a vulnerability that could be fatal for some, even for our town with the downward spiral of the economy and add the increasing uncertainty with fossil fuel... those reciprocating diesel engines driving generators that must run flawlessly, 24/7 to keep us alive when Swan Lake's surface is circling the drain. This is happening now. Our money stream needs to be used for the good, for the survival of all the citizens... anything not related to our community's survival can wait.
To the Mayors of our Town and Borough; work out your differences with Cape Fox, get our hometown shovels in the ground, jobs for our own people working for our best interests, on the Mahoney Lake Tribal Energy Project; as for the Whitman Lake Project, fine... every little bit helps.

Ken Bylund
Ketchikan, AK


Received March 04, 2009 - Published March 04, 2009



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