Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Wilderness Icon

Tundra Swan

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is our nation’s greatest wilderness icon and must be protected for future generations. Drilling in the Arctic Refuge will do nothing to lower today’s gas prices and will not address our nation’s long-term energy needs. Instead, drilling will destroy America’s proud wilderness legacy while boosting Big Oil’s billions of dollars in profits – which, according to the latest quarterly reports have already increased by more than 50 percent over last year.

The Arctic Refuge provides crucial habitat for some of our most beloved species of wildlife – including caribou, polar bears, grizzly bears, musk oxen, Dall sheep, wolves, wolverines and much more. Each year, the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain’s vast expanse of lush tundra acts as the birthing grounds for much of this wildlife.

Birds we see in our own backyards, in all 50 states and across six continents, begin their lives in the Arctic Refuge before migrating to visit us and then returning there to start the cycle of life anew. The Arctic Refuge’s Coastal Plain also is the most important land habitat for mother polar bears, who build dens there each year to give birth to their cubs. In addition, the Porcupine Caribou Herd – which for thousands of years has been the foundation for the livelihood and culture of the Gwich’in people – return each year to the Arctic Refuge’s Coastal Plain to give birth to their calves.

Caribou in the Refuge
Caribou in the Refuge
The history of the Arctic Refuge is about its unique wildlife, beautiful wilderness and recreational values, not its development potential. The American public has made it clear that we are looking for real solutions to high gas prices, yet leadership in Congress keeps focusing on the same failed solutions – such as giving Big Oil another $50 billion in taxpayer subsidies over the next decade. It’s time for our elected officials to stand up for real Americans and protect places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge while moving our nation toward a sustainable energy future.

To ensure the future protection of this fragile area, Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced H.R. 139, the Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act – “to preserve the Arctic plain…as wilderness in recognition of its extraordinary natural ecosystems and for the permanent good of present and future generations of Americans.” In the Senate, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) have introduced companion legislation. Join us in the fight to protect our nation’s public lands legacy once and for all by asking Congress to designate the Arctic Refuge’s Coastal Plain as wilderness. You can check a current list of co-sponsors to this legislation by clicking here. Simply search for Bill Number HR 139 and click “Co-Sponsors.”