We have all heard the saying lately, so I won't repeat it again. However, Redfern's newest hoverbarge proposal is still experimental, unproven and unworthy of the Taku River.
I attended Juneau's public meeting at Centennial Hall recently to learn that Redfern now plans to push and pull the same experimental, 1.5-million-pound, 18,000-square-foot "hoverbarge" across the Taku's biologically sensitive areas using some type of "aquatic bulldozer" with large tires or tracks depending on whether or not Redfern's tugboats need assistance.
Redfern's previous proposal entailed using a large four-wheeled aquatic Rolligon with Archimedes' screws to "paddle" its hoverbarge up and down the Taku River. But the fact remains: Redfern's hovering behemoth and associated Tonka toys are still going to crush everything in their path whether the hoverbarge is towed by a Rolligon or pulled with a tractor.
Redfern's tugboats have already sunk, run aground and have run into the Canyon Island fish wheels on the Taku River. Imagine what its new-fangled, unproven technology can do.
Redfern's proposal is still unacceptable because it still intends to experiment with this unproven hovering technology on the Taku River, a world class salmon fishery. Do the residents of Juneau and Southeast Alaska really want to risk their fishery and others' way of life on an experimental technology?
Curiously, there were no engineers on Redfern's or the state's panel of "experts" during the public meeting. Who is going to certify that this technology is going to work? And who is to be held responsible after the damage is done?
The hoverbarge is still an experimental technology, and Redfern should experiment with it somewhere else other than the Taku River. Please send comments on the Department of Natural Resources' Alaska Coastal Consistency Review by Dec. 22, and Land Use Permit by Jan. 5, to Tom Crafford, large-mine permit coordinator, DNR, firstname.lastname@example.org.