For Immediate Release, June 28, 2019
Kristen Monsell, (510) 844-7137, KMonsell@biologicaldiversity.org
Trump Administration Releases Alaska LNG Project Environmental Study
Drilling, Fracking in Arctic to Export Fuel to Asia Would Worsen Climate Crisis
WASHINGTON— The Trump administration today released a draft environmental impact statement for the Alaska LNG project, which would export American fossil fuel to Asia. The proposal calls for an 807-mile pipeline, a facility to liquefy natural gas, and the shipping of about 20 million tons of the condensed fuel abroad every year.
The pipeline would have a daily capacity of 3.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas, which could result in more than 90 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually. That’s the same global warming impact as operating 21 coal-fired power plants.
“Expanding drilling and fracking in the Arctic to ship fossil fuels to Asia is a terrible idea. Building a gas pipeline across Alaska’s thawing permafrost endangers people and wildlife,” said Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “This reckless project would hurt polar bears, whales and coastal communities and escalate the climate crisis.”
According to the draft report, the Alaska LNG project would pass near three national wildlife refuges, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and cause habitat destruction and pollution that would harm caribou and numerous threatened and endangered species including polar bears and bearded seals. The report also finds that the project could negatively affect the subsistence practices of Alaska Natives.
Former Alaska Gov. Bill Walker championed the project by the state-run Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, which announced in May that BP and ExxonMobil will help fund it. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is the lead agency considering the project, and the Center for Biological Diversity has formally intervened to oppose it.
The pipeline would connect drilling operations on the North Slope to an export terminal on Cook Inlet and bring tanker ships through the habitat of endangered North Pacific right whales and Cook Inlet beluga whales.
In addition to the draft environmental impact statement, the Trump administration also today issued a proposed rule to allow Alaska LNG to harm and harass marine mammals for the next five years during construction of the LNG export terminal. Noise from construction and operation activities can harm Cook Inlet beluga whales, humpback whales, porpoises, seals and other animals by disrupting essential behaviors such as feeding and breeding, and masking communications.
Alaska is currently warming at twice the global rate, and the state’s infrastructure is being compromised by thawing permafrost and related subsidence. The project, with a price tag of at least $43 billion, would also involve the construction and operation of a gas-treatment plant and associated 60-mile pipeline on the North Slope.
“We should be addressing climate change and the extinction crisis instead of supplying fossil fuels to China,” Monsell said. “This massive project just should not go forward.”
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.