Protect Our Oceans

Testimony on offshore oil and gas lease sale in Cook Inlet

On September 12th, BOEM held a public hearing on their proposed five-year (2023-2028) program for offshore oil and gas lease sales. Their proposal includes one sale in Cook Inlet in addition to sales in the Gulf of Mexico. State Director Dyani Chapman testified in favor of no new leases.


Dyani Chapman | TPIN
A view of Cook Inlet

Hello, my name is Dyani Chapman and I’m the state director of Alaska Environment. I live and work in Anchorage. Thank you for taking the time to collect comments on the proposal. 

I strongly support no new leasing anywhere in our ocean, including in Cook Inlet. 

First, world over, we are facing more and more devastating extreme weather, and sooner than we anticipated. Here in Anchorage, we had one of the driest Junes ever on record, and one of the wettest Augusts. The early wildfire season was devastating to communities in Western Alaska. The Arctic is warming faster than we anticipated. Already, salmon runs and herring fisheries are collapsing. We need to eliminate the use of fossil fuels as quickly as possible. The scenarios in your proposal all show that eliminating these leases will result in reduced consumption and an increase in alternative energy use. We must take each opportunity we have to limit greenhouse gas pollution. The recent climate impacts indicate that the 2050 net zero goals used as a reference point in your proposal are too tame to effectively protect our environment and communities. New fossil fuel infrastructure does not support the necessary energy transition or the speed at which it must happen. 

Next, Cook Inlet is home to belugas, steller sea lions, humpbacks and more. The salmon feeding my family this winter came from just a little north of the program area. As the ocean warms and acidifies, the survival of our marine life will become more tenuous. The greatest opportunity for their resiliency will come from clean, healthy, well protected habitat and range. Changes to our oceans will also change range patterns. It is likely that some species will move to the North, some will take advantage of prey moving north by extending into the south. It’s not possible to eliminate the impact to our belugas and other wildlife by skirting their current range. When we drill, we spill- over and over again. The immense tides in the inlet will make containment of spills particularly challenging, if not impossible. Construction of new rigs also introduces pollutants and dangers to our wildlife. Bottomline, the risks are too high to tolerate, and no leases should be issued. Thank you again. 


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