Hilcorp will face a legal battle before it can begin its proposed seismic testing in Cook Inlet near Homer.
Cook Inletkeeper and the Center for Biological Diversity filed their suit in district court against the Trump administration’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Hilcorp has received state approval to conduct testing in Lower Cook Inlet using air guns that can disturb marine mammal habitat and disrupt local food chains. Specifically, the suit aims to block the take authorization granted by the state of Alaska that would allow harm to marine mammals as a result of the testing and other work.
The environmental groups say the authorization underestimates how many marine mammals will be affected by the testing, and they don’t agree that the testing would have “negligible impacts.”
Hilcorp, which recently bought out BP’s North Slop operations for $5.6 billion, is the largest operator in Cook Inlet and has a documented history of failing to meet regulatory standards.