June 22

Solstice was yesterday. High was 66, and my face is
sunburned. Today, little white flowers are blooming
on the tundra. More waterfowl are showing up, as are
more caribou. The pack ice was moving offshore for a
couple days, but today is back in with the wind shift.
Although we drive the same (one and only) road to and
from our lodging everyday, I still see new things I
hadn’t noticed before at roadside industrial sites.
It’s hard to wrap my arms around this place, but I
learn more everyday. One of the most striking things,
really, is how clean the whole place is. It’s really
no foolin’ on any type of spill here – even if you
miss the funnel on refilling the oil like on the small
generators we were doing preventative maintenance on
today. The units go into “duck ponds”, which are
little square duckie-yellow pool-like things about 8
inches deep. You place absorbent pads in these, then
your engine on the pads. It’s called “secondary
containment”, and is the law of the land here in the
oil field. All the soiled absorbs go into a double
bagged “oily waste” bag, and these go to a separate
handling facility. There’s no garbage or other type
of dump here that I know of – all garbage is shipped

I’m alot less apprehensive now about drilling in the
state for oil. From seeing things here, I’m sure we
can do the drilling and extraction safely. What the
oil itself does to global warming, global warfare,
etc., is another question, as is transporting the oil
safely. And of course, I don’t think new production
will drop the price of gas significantly anywhere –
not even here in Alaska.

Our quandry is people demand their free annual money
from the state – called the “Permanent Fund Dividend”
above all other governmental functions. That check
depends on the price of oil (at least in part). So,
people here bemoan the high oil prices, but also
demand their checks be as high as possible – which
means selling the oil here as high as possible.

Mark Stopha and Sara Hannan
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
Wild Salmon and Salmon Pet Treats
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801