by Sue Deyoe ~ September 21st, 2010
Seven of 12 Fairbanks candidates for House and Senate in the November election are jumping on the Susitna Dam bandwagon.
Fairbanks recently held a candidate forum for this fall’s election. Candidates from both sides, Democrat and Republican, say that damming the Susitna has the best potential for bringing energy to the Interior. Joe Thomas, a Democrat from Fairbanks, started the discussion last year. Pete Higgins and Thomas in Senate D race, as well as House candidates David Guttenberg, Steve Thompson, John Brown, Joe Michel and Scott Kawasaki support the dam effort.
However, Republican candidates Mike Kelly and Dave Talerico say that the Interior would be best served by new roads leading westward to open access to mineral deposits and improve rural economies. Candidate Tammie Wilson says the state should support biomass related energy co-generation projects.
A state funded study late last year showed that a smaller hydro project at Lake Chakachamna across Cook Inlet makes more sense than the multi billion dollar Susitna Dam project.