Alaska’s Cook Inlet has long been known for its stunning mountain views and the endangered beluga whales that inhabit the watershed. But a series of oil and gas leaks from underwater pipelines, one of which is still ongoing, has residents and environmentalists concerned both about the short-term impacts on sensitive wildlife and the long-term risks of the region’s aging pipeline infrastructure.
“It’s a radical physical environment for steel infrastructure,” Bob Shavelson, advocacy director at the Cook Inlet-based Inletkeeper, told ThinkProgress. The southern Alaska inlet contains more than 1,000 miles of pipelines and 16 offshore oil and gas platforms, frequently operating in harsh conditions, including earthquakes and three feet of ice.
In early February, officials with pipeline company Hilcorp Alaska reported that natural gas was leaking into Cook Inlet from an eight-inch pipeline used to transport gas to offshore oil drilling platforms. Later, it was determined that the leak started months earlier, in December, and was sending 210,000 to 310,000 cubic feet of natural gas into the watershed every day.
Home to the beluga whale and so much other incredibly beautiful marine life.
Did you know Alaska doesn’t charge residents income tax? Like Texas it doesn’t because of its connections to the oil and gas industry…. Alaska, you folks need to step up and do something about this even if it means paying some taxes to boot them out!