Thank House committee members who voted to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge!
Photo credit: Patrick J. Endres/AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com
WHY TO LOVE THIS PLACE
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, located in the northeast corner of Alaska, is one of the finest examples of wilderness remaining anywhere in the world. It is a perfect example of intact, naturally functioning Arctic and subarctic ecosystems. In fact, such a broad spectrum of diverse habitats occurring within a single protected unit is unparalleled in North America.
Species including caribou, polar bears, waterbirds, arctic foxes, black and brown bears, Dall sheep, moose and muskoxen all rely on this diverse habitat.
The coastal plain serves as birthing grounds for the Porcupine caribou in summer and the most important land denning area for America's threatened polar bears in winter.
Approximately 200 species of birds call the Arctic Refuge home at least part of the year, including snowy owls, Arctic terns and golden eagles.
The Arctic Refuge covers 19.6 million acres in northeast Alaska, and includes the Mollie Beattie Wilderness, the second largest wilderness area in the U.S. at 8 million acres.
PEOPLE OF THE REFUGE
The Inupiaq village Kaktovik is located on the Arctic Ocean coast while the Gwich’in people live in several villages to the south along the border of the Arctic Refuge.
THE FIGHT TO PROTECT THE ARCTIC REFUGE FROM DRILLING
The Trump administration recently completed the first step in its process to hold an initial oil and gas lease sale in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and it could also be on the verge of green-lighting seismic exploration on the Arctic Refuge's coastal plain. It is rushing forward with plans for destructive oil and gas drilling while disregarding the biological, cultural and climate impacts on a rapidly warming Arctic. This push is the result of Congress passing a controversial tax bill in 2017 that mandates development on the coastal plain, sacred lands of the Gwich’in people and vital habitat for caribou, polar bears and of migratory birds.