TAKE ACTION NOW: https://inletkeeper.org/hilcorpdumping/
CHECK OUT OUR SHORT VIDEO: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT5Fqlfbubs
In today’s increasingly greedy world, oil and gas companies will go to just about any length to make as much profit as possible. And Texas-based Hilcorp is the poster child for profits at any cost.
Since it gobbled up the lion’s share of oil and gas assets in Cook Inlet in 2011 – and later pushed onto the North Slope – Hilcorp has had a steady string of worker safety and environmental abuses that should disqualify them from doing business in Alaska. We won’t recite the litany of issues – from a worker’s death and other near-deaths, to large spills and big fines – but you can read about them here and here.
Now, Hilcorp wants a new Clean Water Act permit to INCREASE the amount of toxic pollution it dumps into Cook Inlet. The technology exists for Hilcorp to reinject its toxic waste back into the ground. In fact, there are dozens of injection wells around Cook Inlet that serve that very purpose.
But there’s one problem: Hilcorp would have to pay the cost for proper treatment (i.e., reinjection), and it can make a higher profit by dumping its toxic waste directly into Cook Inlet. Why would Hilcorp cut its profits when it can make more money dumping into prime fish and whale habitat?
At the most basic level, pollution like Hilcorp’s toxic dumping in Cook Inlet is just another in a long string of subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. According to the International Monetary Fund, the United States spends ten times more on fossil fuel subsidies than it does on education. Closer to home, the Alaska State budget is in shambles, and our schools and seniors and ferries are getting hammered by the massive subsidies oil lobbyists managed to wrangle from our feckless legislators in Juneau.
And if you needed any more proof that Alaska is simply a banana republic run by and for the oil industry, look no further than the cringe-worthy permit our Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) offered to Hilcorp. We’ve seen many Clean Water Act permits over the years, but as these excellent comments by Trustees for Alaska point out, ADEC’s permit for Hilcorp’s dumping in Cook Inlet is uniquely awful.
Why? Because the Clean Water Act is designed to REDUCE pollution over time. But ADEC shamelessly ignores the law and the science to increase by 50% or more the discharge of toxic heavy metals and hydrocarbons into Cook Inlet. And they have the gall to call it “best available technology.”
While Hilcorp’s toxic dumping – and ADEC’s collusion in it – are an affront for many reasons, they’re especially problematic for the Cook Inlet beluga whale, which has been on the endangered species list since 2008, yet continues to slide toward extinction.
Every year, Hilcorp dumps billions of gallons of toxic waste into designated critical habitat for the whale – special areas where the whales feed, mate and rear their young. Not surprisingly, a recent study found high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – which are linked to marine mammal cancers – in the guts of Cook Inlet belugas.
Mahatma Gandhi famously said – “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” If you don’t think Cook Inlet can endure Hilcorp’s greed, contact ADEC Commissioner Jason Brune and let him know. Take action NOW: https://inletkeeper.org/hilcorpdumping/