The Arctic Refuge, considered the “crown jewel” of the National Wildlife Refuge System, is under serious threat from pro-drilling interests in the U.S. Senate. These lands have remained untouched for thousands of years, and we must not allow drilling to permanently damage this irreplaceable refuge and its iconic wildlife.
Multiple steps have been taken over the last six months that greatly concern us about the future of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and its pristine, untouched habitat.
- In May, the President’s FY18 Budget assumed a surplus of $1.8 billion from opening up the Arctic Refuge to drilling.
- In July, the House passed a budget bill that included instructions to find up to $5 billion in savings through oil and gas revenues in the Arctic Refuge. The Senate would require only 50 votes to pass such a measure under budget rules.
- In mid-September, the Washington Post reported that Secretary Zinke’s Interior Department has ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to allow seismic testing in the refuge. This testing would be performed under a disputed reading of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) that says a seismic plan needs to be approved by the Interior Department before any drilling could occur. If the testing is allowed, this would overturn 37 years of legal positions of DOI, including litigation in 2014.
This week or next, we are expecting to see the U.S. Senate propose language in their FY18 Budget Resolution that would open up drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It is widely expected that instructions will be sent to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee regarding the Arctic Refuge, perhaps to the tune of $1 billion.
Please contact both of your U.S. Senators and ask them to oppose this language, and to vote AGAINST any bill that includes such instructions.
October 2016 – Sierra Club: Stand with the Gwich’in Nation and Protect the Arctic Refuge October 2016 – NRDC Action Fund: PROTECT THE ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE FOREVER!