Letters to the Editor

DEC should reject soil treatment plan

I am an intern at Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) and a graduate student studying environmental and occupational health. ACAT urges that the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) reject the proposed Operations Plan for the Nikiski Soil Treatment Facility and revocation of minor air quality permit (AQ1657MSS01) in order to stop the generation and release of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) that will harm the health of nearby residents, shopping and places of worship, and school children.

Soil Treatment Technologies LLC (STT) is the operator of this incineration facility, accepting mostly petroleum-contaminated soil, but also soils contaminated with chlorinated compounds on a case-by-case basis. The incineration process includes heating the contaminated soil and flushing with water, causing vapors. Those vapors are filtered and burned before being released into the atmosphere. During this incomplete combustion process, massive quantities of hazardous air pollutants are released.

The facility is permitted to release annually up to 18 tons of nitrogen oxide, 12 tons or carbon monoxide, 27.9 tons of sulfur dioxide, 5.9 tons of particulate matter 1o micrometers or smaller, 2.5 tons of particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or smaller, and 27.4 tons of volatile organic compounds, each having their own adverse health effects. The new Operations Plan is not only attempting to increase the facility’s capacity, but would add substantial emissions, including 9.9 tons of hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is toxic and corrosive, and only one of the possible chemicals emitted from burning chlorinated compounds. The heating and burning of chlorinated compounds will also create dioxins and polycyclic hydrocarbon contaminants. Pollutants like these are persistent, bioaccumulative, and extremely toxic even in tiny quantities, putting the surrounding population at risk of cancer and other serious adverse health effects.

There is still time for change. The ADEC opened a comment period until July 2. I encourage all to use their voice to reject this new Operations Plan and demand the revocation of STT’s minor air quality permit.

Lauren Estrella, ACAT intern and graduate student in Environmental and Occupation Health, California State University, Northridge

Sara’s dedication speech to the community

I want to thank you for your ongoing never ending support for 2.5 years, you have fed us body and soul nonstop. We have faltered many times and you have held us up. The main thing you have done is to never give up; we led the charge and you have been right beside us. I knew my daughter, Anesha “Duffy” Murnane, had not evaporated, and she certainly had not abandoned us willingly. You kept her plight alive; you helped us push the cause.

We were told by someone in authority, five days into the search, that she likely wouldn’t be found because she didn’t leave any clues. Is that the victim’s job — to leave clues? No, it was our job to find clues, to keep awareness up to have as many people with Duffy’s plight foremost in their brains, always alert, always looking. It worked: Many experts joined our team and the local press covered it all.

Matt Haney is now our lead investigator, with many more helping, tireless, methodical, still finding those hidden clues. You are passing on tips. You are cooperating. We are making progress. He is my hero and he should be yours; your loved ones are far safer now. We thank you Matt, and we will be forever grateful.

We have one more favor to ask now. We are all getting very tired of this drama, but were not done yet. We have a trial coming up — it won’t be soon, perhaps in a few years. The legal process will be grueling and heart wrenching, and we ask that you stand beside us once again so we can get through it, with an outcome that assures us that no other family has to endure this horror from this person.

Sara Berg

It’s called “teamwork”

I appreciate our reader from Kenai’s personal views on the “desensitization” in America (Letters, June 23, 2022), but he is way out of touch with modern day reality.

He typecasts women as a stay-at-home family member whose sole purpose is to give birth, cook meals, clean house, provide sex, and serve all the other needs of the male member of the family. So outdated. So short sighted. So (well) male.

Remember, a “family” is primarily a team who share the responsibilities (good or bad) of that group. The husband, wife or partner has the opportunity to work, share in the preparation of meals and clean house. And, while one member gives birth, the other provides support. It’s called teamwork.

It’s views like those of the author that condemn women to second class citizenship.

Michael Haines

Libs melting down

Last Friday, the supreme court overturned Roe v. Wade. Predictably, the purple-haired crazy ladies on the far left gathered to protest in Washington, D.C. An organization called the Woman’s March even rioted outside the Arizona Senate and announced plans for future protests in all 50 states. Despite these protests, it appears that they don’t fully understand this supreme court decision.

The court did not make abortion illegal; the court simply concluded that it is not a right found in the federal constitution —just as, for example, the speed limit on Pioneer Avenue or the number of king salmon you can catch aren’t specified in the constitution. The court decided that abortion law, like most laws in this country, will be left up to each state to decide.

Locally, abortion is legal because Alaska courts have interpreted Article 1, Section 22, the 1972 Right to Privacy amendment to the Alaska Constitution, as protecting a person’s right to make reproductive decisions. If abortion is no longer supported by the majority in Alaska, that could change, but it would require another amendment to the state constitution. This would not be quick or easy. It is not likely that the abortion law will change in Alaska any time soon.

Whatever side you take on this issue, you should be glad that the supreme court has chosen to return to federalism and to the actual meaning of the U.S. Constitution. In the long run, this change in course might just be what saves our republic from the tyranny of liberalism, and that is a much bigger victory than whatever kind of birth control the lefties are using.


Greg Sarber

Grateful for Homer Foundation scholarships

To the editor,

I am extremely thankful to receive the Mary Joyce Robinette Memorial Scholarship from the Homer Foundation. This scholarship will help me in my studies of zoology at Colorado State University. My goal is to use my education to come back to Alaska and work a career in the field, studying all of Alaska’s beautiful wildlife. My final goal is to help humans better understand animals, and I wish to do that through education and conservation efforts. This scholarship will boost me towards this goal of mine. I would again like to thank the Mary Joyce Robinette Memorial Scholarship Committee for assisting me on my journey and this opportunity will not be taken for granted.

I also have been blessed to receive a scholarship from the Fish & Wildlife Scholarship Fund at the Homer Foundation. This scholarship will help me towards my goal of studying zoology at Colorado State University. I truly hope to find myself back in Alaska and helping better connect people with Alaska’s wildlife. Animals and nature have been my passion since I can remember, and as an avid hunter and fisher I understand the challenges with these human and animal relationships. I wish to bridge the gap between the two entities, and spread awareness and education into conserving all these beautiful creatures for future generations to enjoy much like we have. I would like to thank the Fish & Wildlife Scholarship Committee for assisting me in my journey and this opportunity will not be taken for granted.

Finally, I am also thrilled that I have received the Drew Scalzi Memorial Maritime Scholarship from the Homer Foundation. This scholarship will help me with my zoology degree at Colorado State University. I will use my education to come back to Alaska to study the wildlife that inhabits this wonderful place. My goal is to bridge the gap between people and animal relationships. This scholarship will help me in my goal. I would like to thank the Drew Scalzi Memorial Maritime Scholarship Committee for assisting me in my journey to reach this high goal.


Blake Lemons, Ninilchik

Grateful for Sutton James Miller Memorial Scholarship

It is so amazing to receive the Sutton James Miller Memorial Scholarship from the Homer Foundation. I always wanted to go to college, and to be the first one of my siblings to get into a university is amazing. The whole challenge is a big step for my life, and I just am in such gratitude for the people aiding me in my greater educational progression.

My childhood has never been the most financially healthy, and to go forth and expand my knowledge is an enormous privilege. The money from this scholarship is going to impact and greatly affect my life. Because of it, I can move on to a college and get a degree in what I’m passionate about. With this money I can pay for housing, books and food plans. It is thanks to scholarships like this that I can move up in the world and improve my life for the better. I am overwhelmingly thankful for this scholarship, because now I can learn what I am passionate about. I plan on broadening my understanding, growing myself as a person and student.

I plan on studying history. It’s something that’s always fascinated me and enjoyed learning about. I adore reading about historical events such as Russian expansion into Alaska during the 19th century, or tracking family history back to before Columbus. It is thanks to scholarships like this that I can explore my passion and go to a college to learn about it.

Alex Franklin

Thanks for Hospice of Homer support

“Wait, are you HERE with HOSPICE?”

That was the first comment, and not the only time I saw confusion on friends’ faces at KBBI’s Concert on the Lawn. I’m sorry for the befuddlement, but so glad we were there.

Thanks to the generous support of The Quiet Place Lodge, we brought a dunk tank to COTL and made a splash with our message, “Hospice of Homer is more than end-of-life.” Our services encompass far more than end-of-life, and it’s impossible to separate how we live from how we die. A dunk tank might not help people remember that we loan medical equipment for free or offer a variety of bereavement support services, but it will bring people together and into the moment.

Our message and services were well-received. A man came to our booth asking about our motto, “Compassion In Action.” Our conversation spilled into an introduction to his loved one in need of our services. This convinced me that we were in the right place at the right time. By the end of the day, we had new clients to call and volunteers lining up to help. We spent a beautiful summer day in Homer laughing with our friends and neighbors and enjoying conversations about life and love and loss.

Thank you to the Quiet Place Lodge, South Peninsula Hospital, CBC Rental & Supply, and Skiff Chicks for providing the material necessities. Thank you to the volunteers who organized and contributed their time and gifts to make the event a success: Beth Graber, Craig Perrson, Fred Lau, Jeffrey Eide, Michelle Waclawski, Mike Hawfield, Pam Breckenridge, Sandy McDaniel, Sara Borgen, Sherry Koester, Sara Woltjen, Toby Wheeler and Wylene Heidron. A special thank you to Rich Kleinleider, incoming Board President, for volunteering to sit in the dunk tank for hours, long before the sun could warm the water.

Holly Dramis,

Executive Director, Hospice of Homer