Endangered Species

EPA Chief Urged to Stop Cook Inlet Gas Leak or Face Lawsuit

For Immediate Release, February 27, 2017

Contact: Miyoko Sakashita, (510) 844-7108, miyoko@biologicaldiversity.org

EPA Chief Urged to Stop Cook Inlet Gas Leak or Face Lawsuit

Hilcorp’s Broken Pipeline Hurts Endangered Belugas, Violates Federal Law

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity today called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce federal laws that Hilcorp Alaska is violating with its ongoing natural gas pipeline leak in Alaska’s Cook Inlet. The underwater leak, discovered Feb. 7, threatens critically endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales and other wildlife by creating a low-oxygen dead zone.

In a notice letter to the new EPA chief Scott Pruitt, the Center urged the EPA to prosecute the oil company’s violations of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. Today’s letter to the EPA and Hilcorp threatened legal action if the agency fails to take enforcement action and also cited violations of the Endangered Species Act for the leak’s impacts on Cook Inlet belugas.

“Belugas and their prey are being harmed every day this leak continues. We can’t wait another month or more for the sea ice to clear before plugging the leak,” said Miyoko Sakashita, the Center’s oceans program director. “Every day they delay, wildlife is harmed, boaters are at risk, and a potent greenhouse gas rises into the atmosphere.”

Hilcorp has said that up to 310,000 cubic feet of natural gas per day — about what two households would use in a year — bubbles out of a broken pipeline about three miles offshore from Nikiski on the Kenai Peninsula. The company also said it won’t repair the leak until sea ice clears. State and federal regulators have repeatedly warned and fined Hilcorp for its “disregard for regulatory compliance.”

read entire article at The Center For Biological Diversity

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