PROPOSED NEW OIL & GAS LEASE IN COOK INLET DESPITE OVERWHELMING OPPOSITION
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:     July 1, 2022             FOR MORE INFORMATION:                         […]
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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:     July 1, 2022            

FOR MORE INFORMATION:                                            

Liz Mering, Inletkeeper (907.235.3459)

Marissa Wilson, AMCC (907.299.6566)

PROPOSED NEW OIL & GAS LEASE IN COOK INLET DESPITE OVERWHELMING OPPOSITION

Although 99.98% of the nearly 93,000 people commented in opposition to the recent proposed Lease Sale 258 in Lower Cook Inlet, today the Biden Administration released a proposed plan that includes a lease sale in Lower Cook Inlet

HOMER, AK – Today the Biden Administration released the new proposed Five Year Plan for offshore oil and gas leases in federal waters from 2023 – 2028. The proposed plan includes another potential lease sale in Lower Cook Inlet and 10 in the Gulf of Mexico. 

There is a long history of Alaskans opposing leases in Lower Cook Inlet, dating back to the state buybacks in Kachemak Bay in the 1970’s. Recently, Lease Sale 258, in Lower Cook Inlet, received overwhelming opposition by Alaskans, who raised concerns about impacts from climate change to fishing, tourism, and food security in Cook Inlet. Today kicks off a 90-day comment period during which Alaskans are encouraged to provide feedback on the draft plan that will result in a final Five Year Plan. 

Cook Inletkeeper has opposed oil and gas lease sales in Lower Cook Inlet since its inception in 1995 after it was founded by a group of concerned citizens following the Exxon Valdez oil spill. “This is very disappointing news from the Administration that will have no impact on our heating or fuel costs.” said Liz Mering, Advocacy Director of Cook Inletkeeper. “We are at a critical juncture in the climate change crisis and must not start 40 more years of carbon-based fuel production in Lower Cook Inlet at the expense of local and sustainable economies of fishing and tourism. Alaskans have opposed drilling in these waters for decades and will stand up again today.” 

Marissa Wilson, Executive Director of Alaska Marine Conservation Council also spoke out against the proposed plan. “The people of this place breathed a sigh of relief when Lease Sale 258 was canceled this spring, though we knew the fight to protect lower Cook Inlet was not over. We will spend the years to come organizing, celebrating shared reverence for this lively body of water that offers food, purpose, and life itself.” 

Local fisherman, Josh Wisniewski of Seldovia stated: “Lower Cook Inlet is a unique and vibrant marine ecosystem that is a critical nutrient source for the Gulf of Alaska, which is experiencing unprecedented stress from climate change. We will need to pursue a permanent withdrawal of the Cook Inlet lease area from this and all future proposed plans. This is the collective responsibility for all of us whose livelihoods depend on the health and well-being of Cook Inlet and who are privileged to live and work in this remarkable setting.” 

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Cook Inletkeeper is a community-based organization founded in 1995 with a mission to protect the Cook Inlet watershed and the life it sustains. 

Alaska Marine Conservation Council is an Alaska-based non-profit working to protect and promote the integrity of Alaska’s marine ecosystems and the health of ocean-dependent communities.