aichilikOn August 24, 2020, the Gwitch’in Nation, together with a coalition of conservation organizations including Wilderness Watch filed a lawsuit to stop the Administration’s decision to lease the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas companies, and to turn America’s wildest landscape into another industrial wasteland. We are represented by Trustees for Alaska.


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.

In 2017, 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 bill required the Department of Interior to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on potential development. The decision on the EIS was signed in August 2020 and recommended opening the entire coastal plain, 1.7 million acres, to oil and gas leasing and development.

• Read the Gwich’in Steering Committee statement.

• Read the coalition news release.

• Read the Legal Complaint.

• Read our scoping comments.

Read our comments on the DEIS.

Read a group comment letter we signed.


TAKE ACTION: Ask Congress to support the "Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act" which would repeal the entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge oil and gas program.

Contact Us

Wilderness Watch
P.O. Box 9175
Missoula, MT 59807
P: 406-542-2048

Minneapolis, MN Office
2833 43rd Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55406

P: 612-201-9266

Moscow, ID Office
P.O. Box 9765
Moscow, ID 83843

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