Action

Contact your Senators to support Senate Bill 2461, the Arctic Refuge Protection Act, to designate the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) a protected wilderness area. ANWR is under attack by the Trump administration, which plans to open up the coastal plain to oil exploration and drilling. The Department of the Interior (DOI) is trying to rush this through, with little oversight and inadequate environmental review, and against the wishes of the majority of Americans.

You can also write, call or email President Trump and Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, as well as contacting the Bureau of Land Management Alaska State Office. Let them know that you strongly oppose drilling in ANWR and that this is a priority for YOU.

Contact Info

California Senators

  • Senator Dianne Feinstein: (415) 393-0707, (310) 914-7300, (202) 224-3841, or email.
  • Senator Kamala Harris: (415) 355-9041, (213) 894-5000, (202) 224-3553, or email.

The White House

Department of the Interior

Alaska State Office of BLM

Suggested Script

I am strongly opposed to the Trump administration’s plans to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas exploration and drilling. This natural treasure belongs to all Americans and should not for sale! We must not allow our Arctic heritage to be destroyed to enrich oil companies and produce more climate-wrecking pollution.

As one of the last truly unspoiled wild places on earth, the ANWR is irreplaceable. Imperiled polar bears, wolves, musk oxen, and countless other wildlife depend on the Refuge, and it’s a vital sanctuary and breeding area for millions of migratory birds from around the world. It is also central to the culture and survival of the Gwich’in native people.

[you might include something along these lines to make it more personal]
Though I live in California, I feel deeply connected to areas like ANWR as I frequently walk along the San Francisco Bay and visit the Central Valley wildlife refuges, where I see many of the ducks, loons, geese and swans, who breed in the ANWR coastal plain. Any seismic testing or drilling affects the nature we enjoy here in California as well in Alaska and many other states. Fellow birders in other states and other countries are equally concerned and angered by the proposal to sell oil and gas leases in the ANWR.

[when contacting Senators Harris and Feinstein]
Thank you for your sponsorship and support of Senate Bill 2461, the Arctic Refuge Protection Act, to designate permanent protection of ANWR from drilling. And please take whatever steps you can to protect this last great place from being destroyed. Thank you!

Background

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)’s 19.6 million acres are home to gray wolves, caribou, polar bears, and musk oxen. Migratory birds come from all 50 states of the U.S. and six continents to feed and reproduce, taking advantage of the biological growth in the long days of the Arctic summer. Called “America’s Serengeti” for its tremendous biodiversity, the coastal plain of ANWR on Alaska’s North Slope is one of the most intact and untouched ecosystems in America. The refuge is home to more than 200 species of birds, 42 species of fish, and 45 mammal species—including more than 120,000 head of caribou.

These lands are vital to the culture and survival of the indigenous Gwich’in people, who have relied on the Arctic Refuge for thousands of years. Under the Obama administration this refuge was placed off limits to oil exploration and drilling.

But in a typical Trump move to destroy the environment and cater to the fossil fuel industry – a move that will hasten climate change and have devastating consequences for people, wildlife, and pristine public lands – the DOI is rushing forward with a reckless plan to begin oil and gas lease sales within the refuge’s coastal plain. (Adding insult to injury, the provision to allow drilling in ANWR was an addition to the Republican tax cut act of 2017.) The DOI is also barreling ahead to approve dangerous seismic testing, which would be incredibly destructive to wildlife—taking place in critical habitat for polar bears, right in the middle of denning season—and the fragile landscape. Trump administration attacks on the Endangered Species Act have already contributed to loosening protections for this endangered species.

Officials from the Department of Energy and economists from the Environmental Defense Fund have noted that drilling in ANWR would not reduce fuel prices or make the U.S. any more energy independent. Experts also agree that it would definitely cause environmental harm. There are also millions of other acres open to drilling that oil companies have not yet explored. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s own environmental impact statement (rushed through, with inaccurate and outdated information) has admitted that drilling in ANWR could contribute to species extinctions related to climate change and increased oil and gas drilling.

In other words, the proposed drilling is inefficient, not cost-effective, hasty and ill-thought out, and will cause irreparable damage to one of the earth’s last, best places.

Deep national dissatisfaction with the damage that would result from drilling or seismic testing in the sensitive tundra of the ANWR coastal plain resulted in the House passing HR1146 on September 12 that would reinstate protections to this area that were inappropriately taken away by the 2017 tax bill. On September 11, six Democratic Senators introduced Senate Bill 2461, the Arctic Refuge Protection Act, which would give the ANWR coastal plain area the wilderness designation that it so richly deserves. This bill has now been co-sponsored by 26 Democratic Senators, including Feinstein and Harris. As with so many bills, this has small chance of passing in the Senate (the Senators from Alaska are all for drilling), but it is important to put pressure on the Senate and the federal agencies, to secure strong floor votes on these bills now, in order to send a message to the future administration and Senate that these are priority issues.

NRDC and other environmental groups are calling for nationwide opposition and helping to lead the charge against this assault on the refuge, as well as other attempts to drill and destroy public lands and waters in the Arctic region. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the last place that should be open for oil and gas drilling.

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