Create the World You Wish to Inhabit
Lease ART Sale 258 Update: Thank you all for a successful Art Sale 258 and Draft Environmental Impact Statement comment period! We are able to do this work because of […]
splash graphic

Lease ART Sale 258

Update: Thank you all for a successful Art Sale 258 and Draft Environmental Impact Statement comment period! We are able to do this work because of member support from concerned citizens like you. Please donate today to protect Cook Inlet for our future generations.

In the world we wish to inhabit, there is no more oil and gas extraction in Cook Inlet. The looming threat of oil spills is replaced with solar, wind, and tidal spills resulting in sunny days and excellent windsurfing conditions. The waters and skies are clean. Our lands and bodies are healthy. There are clams again in Clam Gulch, world-record salmon again in the Kenai, and belugas abundant in Cook Inlet. Our friends and neighbors have rewarding livelihoods; their jobs do not expose them to toxins or deadly conditions. Salmon streams are cold and emissions are falling because electricity is generated 100% renewably. 

This fossil fuel-free future may be here before we know it.  In a presentation on Alaska’s Energy Future during the Re-Power the Peninsula Kickoff, Brentwood (Hig) Higman paints a pathway for energy system transformation that not only moves us away from the worst effects of climate change, but is safer for workers, cheaper for HEA rate-payers, and better for our quality of life in the Cook Inlet region. The technology needed to transition to a fossil-fuel-free future exists if we can muster the policy and commitment.

Many view fossil fuels on a spectrum. Natural gas is touted as a transition fuel – a slightly lesser evil to wean us off the hard stuff, like coal. (It seems we’ve been transitioning for quite a while now…) The truth is that natural gas is methane. “Natural” is a marketing term. In fact, the Gas lobby has stooped to paying Instagram influencers to claim that natural gas works better than electric stoves for cooking. 

Despite these bold marketing claims, developing more natural gas in Cook Inlet no longer makes ecological or economic sense. In 2010 the Alaska legislature started subsidizing natural gas extraction with the “Cook Inlet Recovery Act.” Since then, we have paid natural gas extractors $1.44 billion dollars, and we still have $880,000 in unpaid obligations, to the total tune of $2.32 BILLION. For these past 10 years, Cook Inlet’s natural gas prices have been around $3 – $4 more than prices in the lower 48. Drilling for more gas won’t solve the problem, it will just force the local market to keep paying more for natural gas on top of subsidizing its extraction. We can-and MUST-do better. 

If you were walking the streets of Manhattan in 1910, automobiles would have seemed an ill-conceived fad, certainly not a societally disruptive innovation. But just as gasoline-fueled buses supplanted the horse-drawn omnibus, so too will today’s gasoline-powered cars be replaced with better modes of transport, and then those will be replaced with even better modes… and on and on. The point is, we have to build better systems while simultaneously living in the ones that exist now. That is how innovation has always occurred in our modern society. We drive gas-powered vehicles today and heat our homes with what is available, but that doesn’t stop us from building a renewable tomorrow. 

With the cod fishery closed in 2020 due to rising ocean temperatures, and the rest of the world transitioning from fossil fuels, Alaska must choose to be a leader in 21st-century energy innovation or be left behind. Canceling Lease Sale 258 is a step in the right direction. Oil and gas are fading into the past; tidal and wind-generated electricity are the future. We are in a transition between the two and the end is not always clearly in sight. Future generations will thank us for picking the cleaner, safer, better path. 

To shape and build this better future, five Cook Inlet-based artists are symbolically canceling Lease Sale 258 and replacing it with ART SALE 258. For a limited time, you can get a Cook Inlet Fine Art Card Set, which includes five greeting cards featuring Inlet-inspired art. 

Love of art – be it poetry, painting, song, sculpture – can overcome any obstacle man has yet devised. Support the Inlet and the Arts by saying NO to Lease Sale 258 and YES to ART Sale 258!