Early last September, as fishermen left the Homer Harbor for nearby cod and halibut fishing grounds, the 273’ seismic vessel Polarcus Alima darkened the horizon in Kachemak Bay. The massive vessel – under contract to Hilcorp – proceeded to blast seismic airguns for weeks on end in a quest to explore for more oil and gas.
A few months later, federal fisheries managers closed the Gulf of Alaska Pacific Cod fishery, and for the first time ever, they cited climate change as the culprit. That closure then led the Marine Stewardship Council to revoke its sustainability certification for the fishery.
Now, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to lease more than a million acres of the frontier waters of Lower Cook Inlet for more oil and gas exploration and development.
The disconnect between sound science and short-sighted energy policy is profound.
We need look no further than Upper Cook Inlet, where the Alaska Department of Environmental Con-servation (ADEC) is now considering a permit to allow Hilcorp to dump billions of gallons of toxic waste each year into prime fish and beluga whale habitat. Industry likes to say there’s no proof its toxic dumping has caused any harm, but the oil companies refuse to look. In the meantime, herring, razor clams, and king crab have all but disappeared in Cook Inlet, and salmon and beluga whale numbers have plummeted.
As Alaska – and the world – face a climate crisis that worsens by the day, it’s time to change the story about energy independence. We know the oil and gas industry will continue to buy our politicians and rely on phony front groups to sway public opinion. But we also know Alaska boasts world class renewable energy assets that can create lasting jobs and clean power options that will protect the things we love about
the Last Frontier.
Inletkeeper is now fighting to draw a line in the water in Lower Cook Inlet – to say “no” to more oil and gas – and we’ll be taking on Hilcorp if it keeps pressing to increase toxic dumping in Cook Inlet. So reach out to us if you want to get involved (firstname.lastname@example.org). Because our vision of a thriving Cook Inlet does not include more oil and gas dumping and leasing.