About 20 percent of Homer residents have access to natural gas to heat their homes. For those who don’t, heating oil is an expensive alternative. That forces some residents to consider less conventional options- like coal. More Homer residents are switching to burning coal they collect themselves, off the beach.
Karen Hamm is walking along the tide line at a popular beach on the Homer Spit, five gallon bucket in hand. She reaches down to collect chunks of coal. Some are pebble sized. Others are a large as a loaf of bread.
Hamm says it’s not an ideal day to scavenge.