Defend Cook Inlet from oil drilling


Supporters spoke up in this action

Delivery to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Action ended on July 17, 2024

What Happens Next

What Was At Stake

Late last year, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) conducted a lease sale for Cook Inlet — a vibrant but sensitive ecosystem in southcentral Alaska that’s home to beluga whales, salmon, and sea otters. Despite the fossil fuel industry’s allies bending over backwards to mandate the lease sale in the Inflation Reduction Act, only one company, Hilcorp, placed a single bid on a single lease tract. Hilcorp has a terrible safety record and cannot be allowed to drill in Cook Inlet.

The tepid response to the lease sale is a relief, but this fight is far from over. In an industry full of bad actors with poor safety records, Hilcorp stands out. State and federal records show that Hilcorp has a long history of spills and other accidents in Alaska. This includes a gas leak and multiple oil spills from its existing operations in Cook Inlet’s state waters. The company has also been repeatedly cited for violating safety regulations. According to the Alaska Oil and Gas Commission, “disregard for regulatory compliance is endemic to Hilcorp’s approach to its Alaska operations.”

Giving this lease to Hilcorp would only increase the likelihood of a devastating spill in Cook Inlet. Tell the BOEM it should reject Hilcorp’s bid.

The lease sale in question was required by the Inflation Reduction Act, but BOEM now has full discretion not to issue the lease to Hilcorp. It is clear that it would not be in the public interest to issue a lease, which is located in an important feeding area for the critically endangered beluga whale.

Earthjustice and our partners are suing BOEM for its failure to assess the impacts of the lease sale adequately, including how any oil and gas produced as a result could worsen climate change. We’re going to hold the BOEM accountable for its actions in court, and we must do the same in the public arena. President Biden’s promises to act on climate are only as good as his commitment to phasing out fossil fuels, and we need your help to remind him to do the right thing. Our communities, ecosystems, and climate are relying on this administration to hasten the end of the age of fossil fuels — and that starts with not issuing a lease to Hilcorp in Cook Inlet.

Tell BOEM to reject Hilcorp’s bid and spare Cook Inlet from the effects of drilling.

A natural gas flare from an offshore oil drilling rig in Cook Inlet, Alaska.
A natural gas flare from an offshore oil drilling rig in Cook Inlet, Alaska. (Paul Souders / Getty Images)

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention. Read more.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue.

Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court. Read more.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment. Read more.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.