Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, December 4, 2015

Contact: Kristen Monsell, (510) 844-7137,

Sprawling Alaska Gas Project Would Harm Climate, Threaten Rare Whales

Alaska LNG Seeks to Build 800-mile Pipeline, Export Terminal to Ship Natural Gas Abroad

OAKLAND, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today opposing the Alaska LNG Project, a massive gas-export scheme proposed by BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation. The project would involve the construction and operation of more than 800 miles of pipeline across Alaska and the shipping of 20 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas abroad per year. The operation would cut through prime habitat for two species of endangered whales, including one with just 25 left in the wild.

North Pacific right whale
North Pacific right whale photo by Rick LeDuc, NOAA. Photos are available for media use.

“This project would be an environmental disaster,” said Kristen Monsell, a Center attorney. “Alaska’s already suffering the impacts of climate change, and this project would spew greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, destroy wildlife habitat, harm local communities, and deepen Alaska’s risky dependence on drilling. All to ship liquid natural gas to foreign markets.” 

The pipeline would run the entire length of Alaska, from Prudhoe Bay to the Kenai Peninsula and be capable of transporting about 3.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. The export facility would be constructed in Nikiski and include marine terminals, storage tanks, and three liquefaction trains capable of liquefying 20 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas per year.

Natural gas would be shipped to overseas markets on tankers through the Cook Inlet and Gulf of Alaska, passing through the habitat of endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales and critically endangered North Pacific right whales, of which only 25 individuals remain. The project would also involve the construction and operation of a gas-treatment plant and associated 60-mile pipeline on the North Slope that would disrupt more than 200 acres.

“The damaging environmental footprint of this project is mind-boggling,” Monsell said. “The habitat destruction, noise and increased risk of dangerous spills and ship strikes from this gas-export scheme would threaten the survival of some of the most imperiled animals on Earth. The best option is to just keep these fossil fuels in the ground.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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