Group says fracking will harm Cook Inlet beluga whales

ANCHORAGE — A national environmental group is asking federal fisheries officials to block a drilling company’s plans for offshore hydraulic fracturing in Alaska’s Cook Inlet.

The Center for Biological Diversity says fracking by BlueCrest Energy will threaten endangered beluga whales.

The group says no hydraulic fracturing by the Fort Worth, Texas-based company should be allowed unless there’s additional environmental review.

Hydraulic fracturing is the extraction of oil and gas from rock through injection of high-pressure mixtures of water, sand and chemicals.

Center for Biological Diversity attorney Kristen Monsell says fracking increases risks of spills, earthquakes and toxic pollutants to belugas.

Benjamin Johnson, chief executive officer of Fort Worth-based BlueCrest Energy says he doesn’t even consider the company’s plans to be offshore drilling.

Johnson says the company will drill about four miles horizontally from a well on shore to reach oil deposits.

He says drilling 7,000 feet below the ocean bottom presents no danger to belugas from chemical leaks, noise or earthquakes.

Johnson responded to a letter sent Wednesday by the Center for Biological Diversity to the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The environmental group wants the agency to block BlueCrest’s plans for fracking, the extraction of oil from rock through injection of high-pressure mixtures of water, sand and chemicals.

National Marine Fisheries Service spokeswoman Julie Speegle says the letter has not been reviewed.

More in News

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Homer City Council candidate Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Traffic moves north along the Sterling Highway shortly after a fatal crash closed the highway for several hours Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. The state is seeking federal funding for a project aimed at improving safety along the Sterling Highway between mileposts 82.5 to 94, or between Sterling and Soldotna. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
State looks to federal funding for Sterling Highway project

The project is aimed at improving highway safety between Sterling and Soldotna.

Ethan Benton (left) and Laura Walters of Kodiak win the vaccine lottery for the Alaska Chamber's week one vaccine lottery giveaway "Give AK a Shot." (Screenshot)
State names winners in 1st vaccine lottery

A Valdez and Kodiak resident took home checks for $49,000 each.

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
A podium marks the beginning of a StoryWalk at Soldotna Creek Park on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. The project was discontinued in August due to vandalism.
Vandalism ends Soldotna library program

The StoryWalk was made possible by a $2,500 donation from the Soldotna Library Friends.

Juneau Empire file
The Coast Guard medevaced a 90-year-old suffering stroke-like symptoms near Ketchikan aboard a 45-foot response boat-medium like this one, seen in Juneau, on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.
Coast Guard medevacs man from yacht near Ketchikan

The 90-year-old suffered symptoms of a stroke.

James Varsos, also known as “Hobo Jim,” poses for a photo during the August 2016, Funny River Festival in Funny River, Alaska, in August 2016. (Peninsula Clarion file)
‘Hobo Jim’ opens up about recent terminal cancer diagnosis

Varsos was named Alaska’s official “state balladeer” in 1994.

Most Read