- What will Alaska be like in 2034, 17 years from now?
- Alaska is really the canary in the coal mine when it come to the climate change. This state's temperatures are increasing twice as faster than any other state in the country. And we have over a hundred communities on our west coast that are facing relocation because of the land erosion, like Shishmareff, for example. So that's going to be a change that happens whether those communities relocated or not. We're experiencing ocean acidification faster than we ever have. That's going to affect our fishing. And yet we continue a drill for oil and gas – burning of fossil fuels is one of the causes of climate change – and we've got temperatures, because of the temperature change we have insects, like spruce beetle, living through the winter that are destroying our forests. We've lost millions of spruce trees on the Kenai Peninsula alone. The temperature is warmer which allows the spruce bark beetle to survive the winter and because of that climate change stressing the trees they are more susceptible. So we either have to be more aware of it and make some changes or we're going to see our environment change dramatically judging by the rate it is already changing. And one of the changes is to be aware that our state is very dependent on oil and gas and we seem to continue blindly down that course without looking at the consequences for that. So we either continue on that course and pay the consequences or wise up and cut back on our dependence on oil and gas. And start making some changes.
And a very small piece of the big puzzle that is affecting my family in Ninilchik right now is that we're neighbor to a 24-acre parcel of property just bought by Hilcorp which is based in Texas and it is a national gas and oil company. They are the largest producer in Cook Inlet right now offshore and onshore. They are very active in Alaska so what they're good at is that they come in and buy older facilities, older sites and then reworking them with the new technology. So they've bought this property right next to us and even though we and our neighbors have spoken out against it, this company has still been given a permit for test drilling. So they planned to drill for natural gas this winter, right here, right next to us. We already have 8 natural gas pads within a 12-mile section north of us, closest one being a mile away, it has 4 wells on it. This one has just one well planned but the purpose of it is that they can continue to extend their operations south. So that's our little piece of the puzzle. So the last three weeks, every Sunday, we're out at the end of our driveway with our signs asking for the project to stop. And just trying to let other people know this is what's going on because you don't see this happening driving on the highway, it is fairly well out of sight. Will we stop the project? I am not an idiot: no, we're not going to stop the project. But can we make other people being more aware? Hopefully. Can we open up discussion? Hopefully, we can.