Take action to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
When the former administration held the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s first oil sale Jan. 6, 2021, following a 2017 decision by Congress to open the area to leasing, we at Friends of Animals were traumatized.
Our efforts to preserve its wildness spans two decades.
In the spring of 2001, we delivered a report to members of Congress detailing the ways in which oil drilling would cause irreversible damage to the refuge’s ecosystem and voicing our opposition to any legislation that would permit it. Throughout his campaign, President Bush prioritized U.S. energy self-sufficiency through oil exploration and drilling in the ANWR.
That summer, we took an aerial tour of the refuge, described as ‘America’s Serengeti’, flying over its snow-capped mountains, arctic tundra, foothills, wetlands, boreal forest and fragile coastal plains. We wanted to see for ourselves the home of 250 species of animals including polar bears, grizzly bears, black bears, muskox, wolves, moose, more than 120,000 caribou and 200 species of migratory birds and resident birds.
So, when President Joe Biden, shortly after taking office on Jan. 20, 2021, immediately slammed the brakes on oil drilling in the refuge by signing an executive order imposing a moratorium on oil and natural gas leases, we breathed a sigh of relief.
Now, three crucial pieces of legislation have been introduced in both the House and the Senate that would protect this area from oil and gas drilling that you can ask your U.S. Reps and Senators to support.
Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act (H.R. 544)
Introduced by Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-2), the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act, would ban leases for the exploration, development, or production of natural gas and oil located in the Arctic Ocean Planning Areas of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). This would effectively put the Arctic off-limits for all future oil and gas drilling. Ask your representative in Congress to cosponsor H.R. 544. You can find your U.S. representatives here.
Arctic Refuge Protection Act (H.R. 815)
In 2017, Congress approved opening the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling—opening the door for the oil and gas industry. Drilling in the Refuge poses an intolerable risk to one of our nation’s greatest natural resources. In the House of Representatives, Rep. Huffman has also introduced the Arctic Refuge Protection Act (H.R. 815) to repeal the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge oil and gas program and designate the Coastal Plain of the Refuge as protected wilderness under the National Wilderness Prevention System. Ask your representative in Congress to cosponsor H.R. 815. You can find your U.S. representatives here.
Arctic Refuge Protection Act (S. 282)
In the Senate, Sen. Ed Markey (MA) introduced the Arctic Refuge Protection Act (S. 282). The Senate bill would not repeal the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge oil and gas program, but similarly to the legislation introduced by Rep. Huffman in the House, it would designate the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as protected wilderness under the National Wilderness Prevention System—ensuring permanent protection of the Arctic Refuge. Ask your U.S. Senator to support S.282. You can find your U.S Senators here.