Target: Sean Parnell, Governor of Alaska
Goal: Avert the construction of an environmentally destructive dam in Alaska
Sizing up a major river in Alaska, the preliminary stages of what could become America’s biggest dam project in decades are currently underway. The end goal of this project is a huge dam on the Sustina river, a pristine haven for Alaskan wildlife. If constructed , the Sustina-Wanata hydroelectric dam will provide a large amount of electricity — profoundly damaging the area’s ecosystem in the process. Urge Alaska’s governor to weigh this decision carefully and cancel plans for the Sustina Dam.
The Sustina River valley composes what most would consider to be the heart of Alaskan wilderness. Its majestic mountains, open tundra, unfettered variety of wildlife, and small settlements with rich cultural heritage would all suffer from the dam project. Unfortunately, the cost analysis studies being conducted per construction of the dam do not take into account environmental costs.
Even without environmental expense, the dam’s estimated cost of $6 billion is larger than the entire annual Alaska State Capital budget. One might ask what gains such an expensive dam in such a pristine area might offer, and the answer is surprisingly unsatisfying. The following estimates have been provided by the Coalition for Sustina Dam Alternatives, an initiative that has created a realistic cost-benefit analysis of the project:
Consumers will pay just as much for gas if the Sustina Dam is completed. Natural gas – which will continue to be used for heating homes regardless of dam construction – can provide enough energy to the surrounding area for at least another 100 years. Even a simple energy efficiency program in the dam’s area would save half as much energy as the dam would produce. Constructing the Sustina Dam will not even solve critical heating necessities.
In short, it makes much more sense in this case to continue using natural gas for the area’s energy needs. In the meantime, advances in environmentally friendly wind and tidal energy technologies are racing ahead. In a few short years, this entire problem could be solved with these new methods. Sign this petition and alert Alaska’s governor to the futility of the Sustina Dam.
Dear Governor Parnell,
Plans are currently being made for construction of a very large dam on Alaska’s Sustina River. Recently approved for another round of testing, this project presents extreme danger to the area’s environment while offering comparatively negligible benefits to your state’s energy users.
The dam is very expensive – project costs estimated at $6 billion. Yet there is enough natural gas – which will continue to be used for heating purposes whether or not the dam is constructed – to serve the dam’s surrounding area for another 100 years.
The dam will offer no decrease in energy cost to consumers, will profoundly damage one of Alaska’s most beautiful river/valley systems, and could be replaced by environmentally sound advances in wind and tidal energy technology in just a few short decades.
In this case, it would pay to weigh carefully the alternatives to using hydroelectricity. Please reconsider Alaska’s plans to construct the Sustina dam.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: Jim via Wikipedia