Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 4:41 PM on Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lets rethink states oil policies

Does anyone else remember the 2010 BP Oil Spill that flowed unabated for three months, 53,000 barrels a day 4.9 million barrels of crude an ocean of oil into the Gulf of Mexico?

It damaged marine habitats, destroying the fish and tourism industries. Our federal government investigation concluded, unless significant reform, in both government policies and industry practices, take place similar spills will occur. Lets hope they dont occur in Cook Inlet. Please bring on the reform.

I wonder about the state of Alaska bureaucrats. What were they thinking offering millions of dollars of incentive to oil companies to drill in Cook Inlet? Essentially encouraging oil companies, to skip permitting and environmental compliance (as the fines would be a pittance in comparison to the incentive).

Conoco Phillips has set the bar for the oil industry with high safety and environmental standards. These new to Cook Inlet oil companies are recklessly breaking the rules in their pursuits. The Endeavor, a Buccaneer jack-up rig, has come from Singapore in response to Alaskas drilling incentive. It now sits, encrusted with invasive species, in Kachemak Bay. Lets hope the invasive species dont disease our oysters.

Since 1993, Kachemak Bay has been designated as a critical habitat area. Oil and gas development, as well as oil rig storage, are not allowed in Kachemak Bay, according to a document signed by the commissioners of Natural Resources and Fish and Game.

Fifteen years before the critical habitat designation, the George Ferris drill rig stored off the Spit became stuck in the mud. The legs had to be freed with explosives. Little is known about the impacts of sound generated by explosives on marine life, but the unmonitored Apache seismic work done on the west side of the inlet this year must have impacted the declining beluga whale population. Might all that blasting have played a role in the poor king salmon returns?

Lets get our act together. State government, we need different policies. Industry players, please work with us in protecting Cook Inlet. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, come on and stand up for science and habitat protection. Politicians, use some integrity, show us it is not really all about money. Fund in a big way clean energy. Non-profits, thank goodness you exist. Concerned citizens, email me at debaloha@hotmail.com. Now is our point of power.

Deb Limacher