Inletkeeper threatens to sue Hilcorp over allege gas line leak

Staff Report

A Homer environmental organization on Wednesday issued a notice to Hilcorp Energy Corp. that it intends to file a lawsuit alleging federal Clean Water Act violations from a leaking Cook Inlet gas line.

In a press release Wednesday, Cook Inletkeeper director Bob Shavelson said he sent the notice to the Houston, Texas, based oil company regarding what he called illegal discharges from the gas line that threaten water quality, fish, Beluga whales and the climate.

Shavelson said that after learning of the event, Inletkeeper wrote the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation calling for an immediate shut-down of Hilcorp’s leaking gas line.

He said that according to ADEC, Hilcorp is scheduled to provide more-detailed plans to address the discharge on Friday.

Shavelson said the Feb. 15 letter was meant to press Hilcorp to address the larger issue of relying on antiquated infrastructure as part of its Cook Inlet business model.

“Hilcorp’s obligation right now must be to Cook Inlet, not to continued profits,” Shavelson said. “Hilcorp has reaped sizable tax credits and enjoyed considerable profits during a time of fiscal crisis in Alaska, and it has a responsibility to do the right thing and immediately shut down the pipeline until it can operate safely without polluting Cook Inlet.”

Shavelson said Inletkeeper obtained a video of Hilcorp’s natural gas discharge taken on or about Feb. 8.

He said that since then, Hilcorp has apparently reduced flow through the gas line, but considerable discharges from the leaking pipeline continue.