It appears that the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) does not tire of using recycled tactics in an attempt to discredit offshore energy production. CBD has long been opposed to oil and gas development in nearly every form, so their unrelenting opposition to Arctic exploration is not surprising. What is surprising; however, are its shameless, repeated attempts to link unrelated events to convince the public that exploration in Alaska in inherently dangerous. History and the facts prove otherwise.
This week, the perennial activists issued another press release that tried to link a small gas leak in the Cook Inlet to a separate project in the Beaufort Sea. In fact, CBD published a similar release earlier this month that contained the very same argument and critique of the company’s Arctic drilling project, proclaiming that all offshore development is “inherently dangerous;” without a shred of fact on display.
Bold blanket claims about the “dangers” of offshore energy production are hyperbolic gestures of fear, not news. Research and responsible energy development has been happening in the Arctic for over fifty years while the first Cook Inlet well was drilled over 100 years ago. Since both of these milestones, companies and scientists have worked together to build a robust knowledge base of both regions, and developed safe methods for extracting each region’s resources.
Stopping future lease sales in the Cook Inlet would be devastating to the thousands of Alaskans who use energy from the Cook Inlet to power their homes, cars, and office buildings. It would also prevent valuable job creation and tax dollar revenue. Research from 2014 found that the Cook Inlet’s oil and gas industry delivers 6,000 jobs and $430 million in wages annually to people of the Kenai Peninsula. CBD’s current litigation attempts to halt Cook Inlet development projects are a direct assault on the valuable benefits the people of Alaska depend on for their energy and financial needs.
Alaskans should be able to unlock the massive energy resources contained in Cook Inlet and in the offshore Arctic. Unsupported arguments from activist groups attempting to incite panic should not influence the regulatory or public discussion of Alaska’s offshore energy future.