Stop Lease Sale 258
Protect Lower Cook Inlet from future oil & gas development: Lease Sale 258
The federal government, through the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), has proposed an oil and gas lease sale, called Lease Sale 258, in federal waters in Lower Cook Inlet. If it occurs, it would offer over a million acres in 9 square mile blocks resulting in 40 or more years of production of oil and gas in Lower Cook Inlet with new underwater pipelines, platforms, and associated increased traffic and tankers in the Inlet.
This lease would produce more emissions at a time when it is critical for Alaska to transition to energies that won’t create more greenhouse gases. Over the last few years, there has been serious damage to Alaska’s fisheries: pacific cod, snow crab, salmon in the Yukon, and others - with strong correlations to rising temperatures and loss of sea ice. The lease sale would occur in critical habitat for the endangered Cook Inlet belugas which are struggling to survive. A spill would very likely end up on the west coast at the beaches of Katmai and Lake Clark where our thriving bear tourism economy is located and down to the waters around Kodiak.
In the 1970s Alaskans joined together to prevent oil and gas development in Kachemak bay by asking our state to buy back leases to prevent irreversible harm to this amazing place. We can act now to prevent that from happening in Lower Cook Inlet.
What's the risk?
Companies will be allowed to directly discharge drilling waste into Cook Inlet
Impacts to landscape
Difficult to quantify, but installed platforms, discharge, increased boat traffic, and noise in a pristine area
Impacts to Wildlife
Disturbance to migratory birds, marine mammals, and fish
The current draft EIS predicts a 19% chance that one or more large (more than 42,000 gallons) oil spill will occur. Sea conditions, ice, temperatures, high waves, large tides and currents would hinder clean-up efforts.
The draft EIS comment period closed on December 13th at 7:59 pm AKST. In that 45-day window, Alaskans and folks from across the country who love Cook Inlet and care about our climate showed up through:
2,661 petition signatures
50+ public hearing testimonies in opposition
BOEM has registered over 92,000 written comments! We have not been able to tally the % opposed but will provide an update when we're able.
Inletkeeper, along with partners from Kachemak Bay Conservation Society, Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Natural Resource Defense Fund, the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and Earthjustice submitted technical comments which you can read here. This includes an analysis of the agencies' spill models by Dr. Susan Lubetkin.
Other submissions included:
Chickaloon Village Traditional Council (Nay'dini'aa Na' Kayax') opposing the lease sale
Kenaitze Indian Tribe's resolution opposing the lease sale
Alaska Marine Conservation Council is concerned about the impacts the sale would have on Alaska's fisheries in Cook Inlet
Alaska Public Interest Research Group expressing concern for Hilcorp expanding its holding when it essentially already has a monopoly on commercial natural gas in the state
EPA expressed concern about locking Alaska into additional emissions rather than transitioning to renewable energy
BOEM's next step is issuing a final EIS that responds to all substantive comments. At that time, the agency would adopt an action alternative (proposed action, no action, or an alternative). After 30 days, if BOEM is pursuing the sale, the agency can issue a Final Notice of Sale. There would then be another 30 day period prior to the agency holding a sale. The agency suggested that - if BOEM holds a sale - it would occur in June 2022.
We'll share updates on our social media channels as they're available but please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions in the meantime.
Support our work
Lease Sale 258 has been on the horizon, but we are now approaching the edge of the waterfall. Stopping oil & gas leasing before it gets a foothold in Lower Cook Inlet is imperative. We need you with us today to protect what we all love and value about this fantastic place. Lower Cook Inlet has created a regenerative economy based on world-class tourism. This area is prime fishing grounds for our commercial and sport fleets. Boats fish in the exact locations where the oil industry wants to install platforms and pipelines - pipelines like the one that just had a catastrophic leak in California. Not to mention the Lease Sale area would be some of the same waters where our endangered beluga whales live.
The impacts from climate change are here. Meanwhile, federal oil & gas lease sales - like 258 in Lower Cook Inlet - move forward. Alaska is reeling from warming temperatures as permafrost thaws and ice melts across the state. These are the same waters where the federal government closed the Pacific cod fishery because of the impacts of climate change. Yet this proposed lease sale would occur in these same waters. It’s up to all of us to say “no” to more oil and gas production with its increased carbon emissions and toxic discharge, making the lands and waters uninhabitable for generations to come.