Unplugged Gas Leak Threatens Alaska's Endangered Cook Inlet Belugas

"A natural gas pipeline has been leaking since at least Feb. 7 and the company says it can't safely stop the flow of gas."

"Natural gas from a 52-year-old underwater pipeline has been leaking for at least two weeks into Cook Inlet in Alaska, home to a number of endangered species, including beluga whales.

The company that owns the pipeline, Hilcorp, has said that the pipeline cannot be shut down without posing additional risk to the environment or employee safety because stopping the flow could trigger a crude oil leak. The 8-inch pipeline, which carries natural gas from shore to four offshore oil platforms, is leaking an estimated 210,000 to 310,000 cubic feet of natural gas each day, according to the company.

"It's a fairly decent sized ongoing leak of methane, especially when it's unclear when they'll actually get it shut down," said Carl Weimer, the executive director of the nonprofit Pipeline Safety Trust. "Lots of methane going in the air is a concern as well as how it might be messing with the habitat.""

Sabrina Shankman reports for InsideClimate News February 24, 2017.

Source: InsideClimate News, 02/28/2017