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ACTION ALERT - State Taking Public Comment on Proposed Permit for Exploratory Oil & Gas drilling

Say “No” to More Toxic Dumping in Cook Inlet. Tell ADEC the technology already exists to properly treat toxic drilling wastes, and exploration companies should be held to a “zero discharge” standard for toxic pollution in our sensitive fisheries.

Oil Rig

COMMENT PERIOD CLOSED - MAY 23, 2013

Thanks to everyone who attended the hearings and submitted comments.  Inletkeeper will be working this summer with all interested parties to end the decade's long Clean Water Act loophole that makes Cook Inlet the ONLY coastal waterbody in the entire nation where the oil and gas industry can indiscriminately dump billions of gallons of toxic waste into our rich fisheries each year.  Contact keeper@inletkeeper.org if you want to support this effort.

Below find comments drafted by Trustees for Alaska on the draft federal and state oil and gas exploration waste discharge permits for Cook Inlet:

Comments to ADEC for state/coastal waters

Comments to EPA for federal/offshore waters

Background:

In early 2013, ADEC & EPA issued public notices for pollution discharges from mobile oil and gas exploration facilities (i.e., “jack-up rigs”) in state and federal waters of Cook Inlet. While the draft permits are complex and involve numerous monitoring, reporting and compliance issues, the most important thing ADEC & EPA need to hear is that Cook Inlet should no longer be treated as a toxic dumping ground for industry wastes.  Exploratory drilling wastes include the rock “cuttings” brought out of the drill hole, which often contain toxic heavy metals, and the “drilling muds” used to lubricate the drill bit and facilitate the removal of the cuttings from the hole. These toxic wastes can bioaccumlate in our fish and shellfish, and a 2003 EPA study found a variety of contaminants in subsistence foods around Cook Inlet Native Villages. The Clean Water Act requires operators to employ “Best Available Technology” for industrial waste streams, and the technology to reinject drilling wastes back into formation, or to barge them ashore for proper treatment, already exists.  However, it’s cheaper and easier for industry to use our public fisheries as their private dumping grounds, so ADEC wants to continue to allow dumping in our coastal waters.  This is especially problematic in the Upper Inlet, which has been designated critical habitat for the endangered Beluga whale, and in the rich halibut, cod and salmon habitats in Lower Cook Inlet.

Say “No” to More Toxic Dumping in Cook Inlet

Tell ADEC & EPA the technology already exists to properly treat toxic drilling wastes, and exploration companies should be held to a “zero discharge” standard for toxic pollution in our sensitive fisheries. More talking points  here.

Read Inletkeeper's 2006 Report - Dishonorable Discharges: How to Shift Cook Inlet's Oil & gas Operations to Zero Discharge.

Please make time to testify in-person at one of the upcoming public hearings (see below), and/or submit written comments. Public comments are due May 22, 2013, and may be sent to:

Gerry R. Brown, PE
555 Cordova Street
Anchorage, AK 99501
907-269.4874
Gerry.Brown@alaska.gov

Public Hearings:

April 29, 2013 - Kenai
Kenai Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center
11471 Kenai Spur Hwy
Kenai, AK 99611
6 PM – 9 PM

April 30, 2013 - Homer
Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge
Island & Ocean Visitor Center Auditorium 
95 Sterling Highway, Suite 1 
Homer, AK 99603
6 PM – 9 PM

May 2, 2013 - Anchorage
University of Alaska
Gorsuch Commons Building
Conference Room 106
3700 Sharon Gagnon Lane
Anchorage, AK 98508
6 PM – 9 PM

For more information, contact Inletkeeper Bob Shavelson at 907.299.3277 or by email.