Credo Action

Tell the Department of the Interior: No drilling or seismic exploration in the Arctic Refuge

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The petition to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior reads:

"Do not allow drilling or seismic exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."

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    Tell the Department of the Interior: No drilling or seismic exploration in the Arctic Refuge

    In early March, two Trump administration officials took a week-long trip through Alaska to start laying the groundwork for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The environmental scoping process for the first oil and gas lease sale in the Arctic Refuge could begin as early as the next few weeks.1

    Republicans have been hell bent on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for decades. Thanks to Trump and the Trump Tax Scam, they now have their chance. They are moving at lightning speed to allow oil companies to ravage this land with seismic exploration and drilling.

    Seismic exploration and drilling both threaten the main calving ground for the Porcupine caribou herd and the cultural survival of the indigenous Gwich’in people, whose way of life depends on the caribou. The Gwich'in consider the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge land sacred, and they have asked for all our support in protecting it.2

    To stand with the Gwich'in people, we need to stop this climate, environmental and cultural catastrophe now, before it's too late.

    Tell Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke: Do not allow drilling or seismic exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    Republicans scored a major victory in December when they passed the Trump Tax Scam, which included a provision that requires the government to hold at least two oil and gas lease sales there in the next decade. The first step will be seismic exploration, a destructive process that would harm the Arctic tundra's delicate ecosystem for decades – or even permanently – even if oil and gas are never found.3

    The Arctic Refuge includes more than 19 million acres of protected land in northeastern Alaska, and it is home to polar bears, caribou, moose and hundreds of species of migratory birds. It is sacred land to the Gwich'in people, who live just outside the refuge and subsist on migrating caribou.

    In the 1980s, seismic exploration disrupted the biodiverse region, leaving ugly scars on the Arctic tundra that are still visible more than 30 years later.4 Experts worry that further seismic exploration will thaw permafrost, disrupt caribou migration and disturb denning female polar bears.5

    Now Alaska Governor Bill Walker has just asked the Alaska Legislature for $10 million to begin seismic exploration again.6 Once exploration is underway, oil drilling could follow within just five years.7 At a time when scientists are urging us to keep oil in the ground to protect our climate, this project would destroy an irreplaceable and sacred place – all for short-term profit.

    Our friends at the Gwich'in Steering Committee and the Alaska Wilderness League are calling on us to join them in protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from this Republican assault.

    Tell Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke: Do not allow drilling or seismic exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    References:

    1. Lorraine Chow, "Interior Moves to Sell Oil Leases in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," EcoWatch, March 9, 2018.
    2. David Thompson, "Take Action," Gwich'in Steering Committee, Sept. 7, 2016.
    3. Chris D’Angelo, "The Arctic Refuge Still Bears Scars From Oil Exploration In The 1980s," HuffPost, Feb. 9, 2018.
    4. Ibid.
    5. Ibid.
    6. James Brooks, "State asks Legislature for $10 million to survey ANWR for oil," Juneau Empire, Feb. 20, 2018.
    7. Henry Fountain and Lisa Friedman, "Senate Takes Step to Approve Drilling in Arctic Wildlife Refuge," The New York Times, Oct. 13, 2017.