In December 1973, the State of Alaska leased tracts in Kachemak Bay for oil and gas exploration and development. The lease sale brought in nearly $25 million dollars. Local fishermen and others united to challenge the leases and to push oil and gas out of Kachemak Bay’s rich fisheries. Eventually, Governor Jay Hammond weighed-in to protect Kachemak Bay, and an epic battle ensued. Then, in May 1976, the legs of the jack-up drill rig George Ferris got stuck in Mud Bay, and the rising tide swamped the rig, causing a spill that ignited a heated community backlash. Two days later, the Alaska Legislature took up Governor Hammond’s bill to buy-back the oil and gas leases and to make Kachemak Bay a state critical habitat area. The bill passed and the rest is history.
On the 40th anniversary of these historic events, Cook Inletkeeper will host a panel discussion to hear stories about the early struggles to protect Kachemak Bay, to bring forward lessons learned from this era, and to connect the dots to present day oil and gas activities in and around Kachemak Bay.
Where: Islands and Oceans Visitor Center, Homer
When: Wednesday, May 25, 6-9 p.m.
Panel Participants (Invited):
Clem Tillion, former President, Alaska Senate
Tom Kizzia, Journalist/Writer
Loren Flagg, ADFG Biologist (retired)
Frank Tupper, former head of Kachemak Bay Defense Fund
Nancy Lord, Author
Chancy Croft, former President, Alaska Senate