Wilderness Watch is strongly opposing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, our last great wilderness. Last year Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and the Trump administration deviously circumvented normal lawmaking procedures to attach an amendment to the Tax Cut bill that opens the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and accompanying development with at least two oil lease sales required on the Refuge’s coastal plain over the next 10 years.
The Arctic Refuge in the far northeast corner of Alaska is our largest National Wildlife Refuge at nearly 20 million acres, and is unparalleled in its wild grandeur, ecological wholeness, and vast scale. Nearly the entire Refuge is designated Wilderness or recommended for wilderness designation by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service! Polar bears, caribou, muskoxen, wolves, Dall sheep, brown bears, arctic foxes, and more than 200 species of birds depend on the Refuge for survival. Seventy percent of Americans support keeping the Refuge wild and free from fossil fuel extraction.
Before lease sales can proceed, however, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalize an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). BLM released a draft EIS in late December 2018. Wilderness Watch will be preparing comments and issuing an alert prior to the March 13, 2019 deadline.