Alaska Wilderness League protects Alaska’s public lands by fighting for wilderness, wildlife, Indigenous rights, and a cleaner energy future.
PEOPLE LIKE YOU KEEP PLACES LIKE THESE WILD:
ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Protecting the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is crucial because of its exceptional wilderness, wildlife, habitat and subsistence values. It is sacred to the Gwich’in People and other Indigenous communities in Alaska and Canada, who rely on its resources for food, as well as cultural and spiritual practices. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Tax Act) included a provision that opened the coastal plain to oil and gas development and mandated two lease sales by 2024. We call on the Biden administration to work with Congress to repeal the oil leasing mandate and buy back leases, restoring protections to the Arctic Refuge coastal plain.
Photo credit: Micah Baird
ARCTIC OCEAN: THE BEAUFORT AND CHUKCHI SEAS
The Beaufort, Chukchi and Northern Bering seas provide habitat for a variety of irreplaceable wildlife, are central to the life and food security for coastal communities, and play a key role in regulating the world’s climate. Offshore oil and gas activities create significant risk to this important and fragile ecosystem and the coastal communities that have depended on it for millennia. The remoteness and unique characteristics of the Arctic marine environment make resource extraction particularly difficult and dangerous, making new leasing unwise in Arctic waters.
TONGASS NATIONAL FOREST
The Tongass National Forest serves as a nationally important carbon sink by storing more carbon than any other forest in the country. It is also the linchpin of Southeast Alaska’s economy, attracting people from around the world for world-class recreation, hunting, and sport and commercial salmon fishing. To protect this national treasure, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced plans to restore protections to more than 9 million acres of roadless areas in the Tongass and end large-scale old-growth logging in America’s largest national forest.
Photo credit: Daniel Dietrich/DanielDietrichPhotography.com
NATIONAL PETROLEUM RESERVE-ALASKA
Development in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska in Alaska's western Arctic has begun, and ConocoPhillips' Willow project is the poster child for the type of massive fossil fuel development that must be avoided today if we’re to avoid the worst climate impacts down the road. Allowing oil drilling in and around the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area would also threaten an essential cultural area and food source for North Slope communities. Willow would significantly increase ConocoPhillips’ presence in the western Arctic while placing all the burden of development on the people and wildlife of the region.
CHUGACH NATIONAL FOREST
More than 1 million people visit the Chugach annually from all over the world; however, it is local Alaskans — especially in and around Anchorage — who really utilize what the Chugach has to offer. According to the U.S. Forest Service, the Chugach serves as the “backyard” for half of Alaska’s residents.
Photo credit: Debbie S. Miller
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it has denied a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska, determining that “the applicant’s plan for the discharge of fill material does not comply with Clean Water Act guidelines” and concluding that “the proposed project is contrary to the public interest." The Bristol Bay watershed in southwest Alaska boasts the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery that supports thousands of jobs. Alaskans and Bristol Bay’s Indigenous peoples, as well as hunters, anglers and wildlife enthusiasts from all across the country, spoke out in opposition to this ill-conceived project.