On February 8, Alaskans learned Texas-based Hilcorp Alaska had “discovered” a large leak from a natural gas fuel line supplying power to platforms on Middle Ground Shoal in Cook Inlet. Several weeks later, we learned Hilcorp knew – or should have known – about the leak months earlier, in December 2016 or earlier.
While ongoing pollution and lax environment enforcement remain unsettling concerns as the weeks pass by, perhaps the most glaring issue is Hilcorp’s inability to control a leaking pipeline in Alaska’s renowned winter conditions. If Hilcorp cannot or will not stop polluting our public resources, then it should have no right to operate in our waters in the first place.
Hilcorp has put forth various excuses why it cannot shut down the leaking pipeline in Cook Inlet’s icy conditions– including that water would infiltrate the gas line and other reasons – but the fact remains Hilcorp simply wants to maintain production and profits without interruption.
“Hilcorp’s obligation right now must be to Cook Inlet, not to continued profits,” said Inletkeeper Bob Shavelson. “Hilcorp has reaped sizable tax credits and enjoyed considerable profits during a time of fiscal crisis in Alaska, and it has a responsibility to do the right thing and shut-down the pipeline until it can operate safely without polluting Cook Inlet.”