Protest calls out Buccaneer

By Naomi Klouda
Homer Tribune

HOMER TRIBUNE/Naomi Klouda - A rally on Halloween brought out 125 people to protest practices by Buccaneer Alaska, including musician Johnny B, right, and artist Jewels.

HOMER TRIBUNE/Naomi Klouda - A rally on Halloween brought out 125 people to protest practices by Buccaneer Alaska, including musician Johnny B, right, and artist Jewels.

A protest against Buccaneer Energy on Fish Dock Road Halloween night, brought out 125 people dressed in costumes and ready to speak their minds about gas development plans by Buccaneer.
The event was organized by Cook Inletkeeper Advocate Bob Shavelson and other local environmentalists. Its pirate theme accuses Buccaneer of recklessness in its local development plans. A song by Johnny B litinized Buccaneer’s infringements, such as “You put your jack up rig’s legs down in a Critical Habitat Area,” then the repeating refrain: “Walk the plank.”
“Ultimately, (the message) is that we need Buccaneer to treat the community with more respect and to raise the bar on their operations. They have been shooting from the hip since they got here and that’s not acceptable when you consider the risk to our fisheries,” Shavelson said.
Mike O’Meara, a board member of Cook Inletkeeper and a founding member, recalled a time in the 1970s when giants Shell and Standard Oil moved into Kachemak Bay and another jackup rig, the George Ferris, came to symbolize the industry’s many mistakes. After oil spills and taking the matter to the Alaska Legislature, Homer people were able to halt drilling in Lower Cook Inlet.
“It may seem the odds are stacked against those who are against oil and gas development,” O’Meara said. “We can beat it. We’ve done it before and we can do it again.”
Shavelson said in his 17 years of scrutinizing oil and gas matters in Cook Inlet, he’s “never seen a company more disrespectful to a community.”
In the three decades since the Kachemak Critical Habitat Area was designated, people in Homer may have grown complacent, believing the area was protected from development.
Instead, the “fist of development plans have slowly closed around us,” he said.

HOMER TRIBUNE/Naomi Klouda - Protesters brave a brisk wind chill on the Homer Spit Halloween night. The rally took place near the site of the Endeavour Jack up Rig, Buccaneer.

HOMER TRIBUNE/Naomi Klouda - Protesters brave a brisk wind chill on the Homer Spit Halloween night. The rally took place near the site of the Endeavour Jack up Rig, Buccaneer.

Also alarming to Cook Inletkeeper is that the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority has invested millions in public money in the jack-up rig venture.
“The million dollar question is whether Buccaneer’s just playing out another Ponzi scheme that will leave AIDEA and its Alaskan stakeholders holding the bag if things turn sour,” Shavelson said. He doesn’t feel AIDEA has been forthcoming about the true scope of its investment.
Buccaneer gave a presentation to AIDEA on Oct. 30, relating that it will have to forego drilling work this season due to the unexpected delays. AIDEA has issued no public statements to date.
Inletkeeper and those involved in the Halloween demonstration contend that during the two public meetings held in the Homer area “Buccaneer officials proved evasive, unresponsive and generally unknowledgeable about the challenging conditions found in winter time drilling operations in the waters of Lower Cook Inlet.”
They also fault the company for its tardy public meetings, held after a year and many months of plans had already been made.
A laundry list of complaints is stacking up from a large section of the community. Buccaneer told the City of Homer its rig would be in Kachemak Bay for eight days. That was 10 weeks ago.
According to Cook Inletkeeper, workers on the rig confirm that basic operating systems on the rig needed months of major repairs and upgrades. Then they said the rig would leave by Halloween, but now it could remain in Kachemak Bay all winter, because Buccaneer filed for its permits to drill off Anchor Point too late.
Buccaneer said it cleaned the rig of invasive species before it left Singapore, but when a mollusk sample was retrieved from the rig, they commissioned a report on the issue and kept it secret, Inletkeeper stated in its press release.
They said it was “unanticipated” that strong winds would kick-up in Kachemak Bay in the late Fall, causing them to lower the rig legs and violate state critical habitat laws. And they violated state and federal wetlands and fish protection laws by failing to get permits for over 850 seismic detonations around the Kenai River, according to Inletkeeper.
“Buccaneer elbowed its way into our community, and has done nothing to instill any confidence in its operations,” said local resident Andrew Peter. “They’ve been misleading and evasive, and they continue to keep us in the dark about important questions.”
Speakers at the rally encouraged participants to write letters to legislators and DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan, as well as make public comment by deadline coming up. Dates are posted later in this article.

HOMER TRIBUNE/Naomi Klouda - Cook Inletkeeper board member and founder, Mike O’Meara, encourages protesters to keep asking for high standard development or continue to fight it from entering the area.

HOMER TRIBUNE/Naomi Klouda - Cook Inletkeeper board member and founder, Mike O’Meara, encourages protesters to keep asking for high standard development or continue to fight it from entering the area.

More complaints about Buccaneer
On Oct. 29, several conservation and Alaskan Native groups submitted a Request for Adjudicatory Hearing related to the State of Alaska Division of Spill Prevention and Response (Division) Final Decision of the Plan Approval for Buccaneer Alaska, Inc.’s Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan 
Called the C-Plan for short, this is the outline for how the company would react in case of an accident in Northern Cook Inlet.
 The Groups include the Center for Water Advocacy, Alaska’s Big Village Network (ABVN), Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council. In their court filing, they say that the appeal is necessary because the C-Plan fails to protect the unique natural resources of Cook Inlet as required by the State’s Best Available Technology (BAT) standards as it applies to secondary relief well capacity.
The request also is an opportunity for local and statewide conservation groups, and fishing and hunting communities to address the public process and effectiveness of C-Plans in response to oil spill or blowout, the groups say in a press release. 
“Alaska communities need assurance that the State of Alaska accepts adequate C-plans that protect aquatic habitat, multi-use fisheries of Cook Inlet, and species like the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale.”
The State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation maintains that it has the strongest oil and gas spill prevention and clean-up standards in the United States. However, the appeal states, the ADEC which retains oversight authority for oil spill clean-up, often fails to enforce such standards and works to weaken them.
CWA Board member, Nikos Pastos says “the Final Decision of approval guts the C-Plan regulations and Best Available Technology standards by deferring to Buccaneers discretion for on-the-ground decision-making regardless of the commitments and standards listed on paper, and hides critical decision-making from public view.”
With the recent expansion of oil and gas drilling in Cook Inlet, the risk to the unique marine habitat and natural resources of the Inlet, from oil and gas spills and blowouts, is greater than ever, the lawsuit states.
Carl Wassilie, Alaska’s Big Village Network’s subsistence rights coordinator and biologist, says, “We want to ensure the Division’s approval of C-Plans do not have loopholes.”

Public comment period
 There are three opportunities to give public testimony on oil and gas issues. One is on the Tidelands Permit to moor the Endeavour rig off Anchor Point.
This permit would allow Buccaneer to tow the rig to the site to conduct modifications to the drilling rig. No type of ground disturbance, with an exception to securing the drill rig, would be authorized under this permit. The proposed location is within Cook Inlet specifically in Section 29, Township 3 South, Range 15 West of the Seward Meridian.
Comments can be made at the State of Alaska websitehere, or call 269-8913. Deadline is Nov. 28  

West Eagle Unit:
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources gives notice on this permit application. The proposed West Eagle Unit is located onshore on the southern Kenai Peninsula, northeast of the City of Homer near the Caribou Hills area.
Buccaneer Alaska Operations, LLC, (Buccaneer), the proposed West Eagle Unit Operator, filed an application to form the West Eagle Unit with the Division of Oil and Gas which was deemed complete on Oct. 4.
The application is available on the State’s website here, or by calling 269-8507. Deadline is Nov. 14.  

Area-wide leases in Cook Inlet
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas, will offer all available state acreage in the Cook Inlet Areawide and the Alaska Peninsula Areawide oil and gas lease sales areas, tentatively scheduled for Spring 2013. DO&G requests substantial new information concerning these areas that has become available over the past year.
The findings and supplements are located on the State website here, or call 269-8776. Deadline is Nov. 13.

Contact the writer
Posted by on Nov 7th, 2012 and filed under Headline News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

20 Responses for “Protest calls out Buccaneer”

  1. Herb says:

    Let me get this straight;

    You demanded and got millions of dollars for a natural gas line to Homer, you are willing to pay thousands of dollars to convert and hook up to natural gas– BUT you do not want natural gas wells. There is a definite disconnect with reality in this group.

    A Cook Inlet Natural gas shortage is forecast for 2014 and beyond. No wells, no gas, no gas will for make a very cold winter….

    • Jeanette says:

      Yes, it is confusing….wonder if all those people walked home to their off the grid living shelter. Walk the talk if you want to be heard.

    • just wondering says:

      Why does it seem like we have been set up?

      We couldn’t get money for the gas line but we got millions for the dock and the dump, so this company could park and dump their cr#p from drilling. So the state of Alaska pays for infrastructure for the corporation.

      Now that’s taken care of for this company, then they give us money for the gas line but at the same time we are suddenly running out and we have to allow these pirates to destroy our environment or we are going to freeze to death.

      When we do get the gas line set up, they will probably start gouging us just like oil and propane, because the cost of commodities are being gamed by the Koch Brothers who lobbied the government to allow speculation on oil in the stock market.

      The Koch Brothers are driving the cost of oil through the roof, because they can. Take a look at a graph at how much they have made in just the last three years on oil speculation.

      Now, if we are running out of natural gas- Why was Sarah working on a gas pipeline to Canada?

      Why are we shipping natural gas to Asia if we are running out?

      Why does even Rush Limbaugh talk every day about how natural gas is everywhere?

      You are pushing the line of false scarcity in order to bully your way into this community and start drilling anywhere you like. It seems as if it were preplanned the way this propaganda is all coming together for you. And knowing Parnell works for Conoco Phillips, and Exxon before that…it is pretty apparent that this is all a coordinated effort by the corporations, for the corporations.

  2. Louise says:

    Does anyone know what are the total number of leases, total acreage and how many companies know hold the leases? Thanks

  3. desal says:

    What was histerical is them running a gas burning genarater , whereing synthetic clouthing, and fleeing the cold to their gas burning cars.

    • just wondering says:

      Wow, great argument. Thanks for pointing out that you are an outsider, because there is no way you could graduate from Homer high school with that kind of spelling. With your intellectual prowess, it’s no wonder you stand with corporations and an America of, by and for corporations. You might look into the ugly history at what happened when corporations took over the government of Germany and Italy.

      Here’s a question to start out your critical thinking practice….When a corporation pays for ads 24/7 on the TV and radio, do they do this in your best interest or in their best interest?

      This might be hard to imagine, but we found a way to heat our homes before your company came along, and we will do fine without you.

      Just because we all use resources to heat and drive cars, doesn’t mean that we cannot be smart about how we get our resources. Some of us don’t like to take a dump where we breathe, sleep and eat, but then, this isn’t exactly your home and you all could care less about the mess you leave behind.

      • david says:

        Just wondering
        You attack someones spelling, yet clearly have no understanding of the situation and the likely implications we are facing in the Cook Inlet …

        “…but we found a way to heat our homes before your company came along, and we will do fine without you.”
        We have done fine before BCC thanks to the big oil corporations that were here decades ago, you want to continue to do fine then you need oil and gas companys here drilling wells, end of story!!!
        If you sabotage this company not only do you cripple future energy production and scare of other companys from coming into the the area, but you also destroy the economics of the community….are you personnally going to stump up increased taxes to cover the shortfall government recieves from the industry? Are you personnally willing to pay higher electricity/heating prices? Are you also going to be in a position to fund those prices considering local trade will have fallen due to these extra costs? No I suspect you would be the first jumping up and down protesting these problems!!!!!

        • concerned sourdough says:

          David I would like to agree with you, but you must think the people living in Homer are stupid and disconnected from the rest of the world. The rest of the world, who are mostly suffering from small holocausts because of BIG OIL PROBLEMS, can be blamed on “war and rumors of war,” and such, but, we are quickly learning war all stems from greed, programming, and ignorance, and the 1% taking advantage of science and the media because both can be bought. We already have better technology … but for greed, all the patents had been bought up, or we would all be sharing the same free energy God gave the world (enhanced for human use by Tesla. Ever heard of Tesla?) It’s time to change our greedy hunger for unrenewable resources such as oil, and if we have to tighten our belts a bit, and heat the old fashioned way for a while, we can, because we are human beings with inventive minds. Why are we drilling every source available to man right now? Oil is not a renewable source of energy and we are depleting it as we destroy the horn of plenty. How dare you try to fool us with your shilling remarks. Yes, we do all the things you say we do because that’s what we’ve been “given.” Our education system does not teach us how to survive the Planets conditions, so that gives BIG OIL a free hand to treat us as slaves to the conditions we are led into by Greed. Search your own soul.

      • desal says:

        Because I was lazy at the time and did not spell well that makes me an outsider? O.K. I admit my spelling was really bad. So what. Also we are ALL outsiders even the “first people” are from asia. Just because you got here a few years before others does not make you a better “Alaskan” or that you have some “special” knowelege of alaskana .So don’t get yer panties in a bunch.

  4. Frank S says:

    If Shavelson ever did anything but complain, he’d probably be a pretty successful person.

  5. dennis says:

    Clearly from what I can see and many from other side of the world !

    Current Alaskan investment ($25m), yes local $$$ into rig and a plan caught up in its own web of red tape!!

    And for the Greenies protesting! , go burn a log or tree to heat yourself up !

    Some really need to brace Buccaneer Energy and its purpose ,as this is also ALASKAN property now !

  6. david says:

    Protesting for the sake of feeling important……Unfortunately I suspect most have no idea of the implications they would cause in the unlikely event they were successful and shut down oil aqnd gas exploration in the Inlet…..Even the spokes people for these organiseations have been continually contradicting themselves in the reasons for protesting….Targeting the only company who has the potential to increase gas production in a meaningful way in the near future is doing Alaskans a diservice…

    • concerned sourdough says:

      Protesters do not require a ‘mission of importance’ if the cause for protesting is valid. Valid, meaning legally sound, gives the hope for a better quality of living for all, without destroying the eco-system in which we live. Ask the fishermen who lost all their life’s savings, jobs, businesses, families, to the reckless devastation of the Exxon Valdez oil spill (who btw, most never recovered) … go see the results in the museum, and then bring your snobs back to the table.

      “Targeting the only company who has the potential to increase gas production in a meaningful way in the near future is doing Alaskans a diservice…” HOLY CRAP! Is this the best we can do people? Allowing only one company to issue orders to our community? Are they so big they can’t see themselves. Welcome to Homer, Hamlet by the Sea, a small community with a fishing problem, who sees all, hears all, knows all (in one hour of the event). Who are you people, who go behind the public’s back to instill your equipment and your big business plans, way before the people who made Homer a community to become available to you, ever knew of your HUGE plans? Propagandizer of lies … that’s who you are.

  7. Louise says:

    Thank goodness for Bob Shevelson and Cook Inlet staff: they do their homework, protect the environment and ask questions before driving off the cliff

  8. lonesome dove says:

    There is also the threat of the boss,(oim) on the rig just walking off the rig without telling anyone. I heard he did the same thing to the other company he was working for in the gulf of mexico. He just one day woke up got on a boat and went in to the dock with all his clothes. He would not answer the phone from the company calling wanting to know why he left the rig. He did say to someone that he had a heart problem. Well, do Alaskans really want a company around with rig leaders like that? What if a spill occurs and he is not on the rig? What if the rig blows when he is not on the rig? If,and I say IF, he does have heart problems, then can he really be in good enough health to be a boss on a drilling rig? There are way too many questions about the leaders on the rig to trust them completely.

  9. Herb says:

    Vote NO on the assessment. Definitely VOTE. The city will vote for you if you do not.

  10. kbaywatcher says:

    It amazes me the protest from the Homer crowd. I believe I heard that the moorage alone at the dock for the Bucaneer is running $60,000 + a month for the Port and Harbor, at a time when the city is looking at a budget shortfall. I know of a couple of local businesses that have made 6 figure incomes in the short period of time the rig has been in Kachemack Bay, not to mention, the workers that have living at the Bidarka, buying groceries, and eating in our restaraunts. And all the while here to trying and boost our gas production that is declining, and provide needed gas for the new users of the pipeline here in Homer, not to mention maybe put the facilities in North Kenai but to full production.

    • raised by wolves says:

      Apparently you do not hail from the Homer crowd. I’m certain NO Homer resident would actually know anything about the charges for mooring the Buccaneer unless they are affiliated with the captain of the rig. Are you the City Manager? AND which local businesses are making those six figure incomes in the short period of time the rig has ben in Kachemak Bay? “I know of a couple of local businesses that have made 6 figure incomes in the short period of time the rig has been in Kachemack Bay,” (by the way most residents know how to spell Kachemak Bay), and … thanks for telling us all where the workers stay … and congratulations to the Bidarks for making so much money. The other thing is … gas in our area is not declining … but thanks for giving us your plans for Kenai.

    • I bowl. Drive around. says:

      Homer is damn lucky to have Shavelson and the Cook Inlet Keeper on their side!

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