This letter is in support of the construction of the new NOAA research facility at Lena Point. The Juneau business, scientific, educational, and governmental community is in need of this world-class facility, and I believe the vast MAJORITY of Juneau residents will embrace its development in its currently planned location.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks marine sciences facility that will be built adjacent to the NOAA marine research facility will train many university students in the vital marine biological sciences. Scientists, staff, and students from around the Pacific Northwest will bring their collective talents to bear on the critical marine research necessary to maintain a sustainable marine ecosystem so vital to our world population.
This facility will augment the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, which has been such a phenomenal success on the Kenai Peninsula. This facility will benefit the growing interrelationship of the University of Alaska and the maritime industry, and will be a natural addition to Alaska, the state that has the most marine harvest of the other 49 states combined. It is no mystery why the fishing fleet of the Pacific Northwest considers the Alaska fishing grounds the preferred location to ply their trade. It is vital to a sustainable and nondetrimental harvest that this marine research facility be built at the front door to this rich marine ecosystem.
So why would NOAA build a facility anywhere other that Juneau, Alaska? Because a small Juneau contingent of environmental factions do not want to add a new facility on Lena Point, because there is a faction of NOAA staff that want to block the development of a Juneau-based faculty that would rival Woods Hole? Because the facility will cost more than the original engineers' estimate? Yes, those are valid reservations, and need accommodation, but please let the logic of my argument hold equal merit, weight, and consideration. Quite candidly, I believe that a NOAA marine research facility rivaling world preeminence in this field of study is well worth the $65 million development price tag and the location is UNPARALLELED anywhere on this planet, located in the HEART of the world's most prolific marine aquaculture.
Please do not waste any more time and money on delaying this project. The economy of the United States and the Pacific Northwest needs this project implemented RIGHT NOW at Lena Point. We, the usual "silent majority" in Southeast Alaska are in favor of this wonderful opportunity for our scientific, educational, governmental, and business communities here in Juneau, in Alaska.