SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Ketchikan faces a new opportunity

By Kent Miller


May 20, 2015
Wednesday PM

Dear Editor:

From inception of the Alaska Marine Highway System through the 1970s, Alaska Marine Highway ships every year ran south to Puget Sound for maintenance, often laying in Seattle through the winter. Then, Ketchikan citizens proposed development of an Alaskan shipyard to perform necessary ship maintenance and repair in Alaska. This was a novel concept at the time, it was even said it could not be done. But today Ketchikan Shipyard demonstrates that ship repair and newbuilding are viable sectors of Alaska’s economy. In creating the Ketchikan Shipyard, Alaskans, and especially the citizens and workers of Ketchikan, have succeeded in bringing home millions of dollars in expenditure — Alaska’s earnings and wealth — that otherwise would have continued to flow outside.

Today, Ketchikan faces a new opportunity: Seattle’s “kayaktivists” and its local government are blocking Shell’s Arctic Alaska fleet from basing in that city; to them Seattle doesn’t need this new way to benefit from Alaskan oil development, and they oppose it on whatever grounds they believe in, never mind the cost to Alaska and the nation when offshore Arctic oil is kept in the ground.

But Ketchikan can relocate Shell’s homeport basing to Alaska, where it belongs: The Ketchikan Gateway Borough has a Central Gravina Area Plan in place, developed by some of the same citizens and professional planners who created the concept of the Ketchikan Shipyard. This development can provide for a petroleum industry support facility equal or surpassing what Seattle might offer, in a community where industrial development is still recognized as a vital element in the State’s and nation’s economy.

What it takes to accomplish this is pick up the gauntlet laid down by those Ketchikan people who believed that industrial shiprepair and newbuilding could happen here, and devote Ketchikan’s creative resources to bringing this new industry home. Ketchikan has done this before, and can do it again.

Sincerely yours,

Kent Miller
Coffman Cove, Alaska




Received May 12, 2015 - Published May 20, 2015


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