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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Wednesday, August 06, 2008

    Chevron's dumping of wastes into Inlet harms salmon

    Cook Inlet remains the only coastal water body in the nation where the oil and gas industry legally dumps billions of gallons of toxic drilling and production wastes each year. These waste streams contain oil and grease, and metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic -- the very same type of pollutants an EPA subsistence foods study found in fish and shellfish around Tyonek, Nanwalek and Seldovia.

    These toxic pollutants taint our efforts to brand and market Cook Inlet salmon as clean, healthy and wholesome -- an essential component in our fight for market share against a glut of farmed fish on world markets.

    The technology exists to properly dispose of these wastes -- by reinjecting them back into the formation. In fact, for all of the Cook Inlet platforms, roughly 95 percent of the waste dumped each year comes from one facility -- the Trading Bay Production Facility on the West side of Cook Inlet-- and an injection well there would go a long way toward solving the problem.

    Yet in the latest permit proceeding, Chevron steadfastly refused to stop the dumping and proposed instead to install a diffuser on the Trading Bay discharge pipe. Instead of properly treating these toxic wastes through re-injection, Chevron's proposal will simply spread them around. Many of the pollutants persist in the environment and can accumulate in the fish we eat, so dispersing them makes little sense in the long term -- especially since industry also wanted to nearly triple the volume of pollutants discharged into Cook Inlet each year.

    Using our public water bodies and fisheries as dumping grounds equates to a huge subsidy for industry at a time when corporate profits are skyrocketing with high fuel prices. For example, Chevron is the largest operator in Cook Inlet, and it raked in profits of more than $5 billion in just the first three months of 2008, so it's increasingly difficult for them to argue that cost is a substantial hurdle to proper treatment.




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