2019-02-11

No Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Photo by Annie Spratt 

Recently, I submitted a testimony opposing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to be read during a hearing held by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in D.C. this week. Although the hearing this week is the only public hearing they plan to hold in the lower 48 states, you still have an opportunity to comment before March 13th. You can submit a testimony directly to their website here, or through Defenders of Wildlife. I’ve included my testimony below. Feel free to use this to help you get started writing your own! It’s important we speak up now.


I would like to express my strong opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The fact that over 50 years of protection can we wiped out in just under a year is deeply disturbing, especially when we live in a time of high anxiety over the future of our planet. If we continue to rely on fossil fuels and exploit the very nature that sustains us, we won’t have a future.

I am lucky enough to live next to Yellowstone National Park and know first hand how important protected spaces are, how living next to truly wild places creates long-lasting wealth for an area and a sense of place and meaning. The Arctic Refuge is one of our last remaining pristine places and is protected for a reason: it is the home to migrating caribou, shrinking polar bear population as well as many other iconic species. The majority of the coastal plain—the very place your agency wants to drill—is designated as critical denning habitat for polar bears, aren’t they under enough stress as it is?

With environmental assessments happening at top speed—less than half the normal time—and limited public comment—this is clearly a political agenda geared to please a few, instead of addressing the long term needs of our country. A nationwide poll last year showed that 70 percent of registered voters nationwide opposed oil drilling in the reserve. With the majority of citizens opposing drilling due to its clear consequences for the environment, wildlife, and indigenous communities, how on earth is this a good idea?

I’m begging you to use the best available science—including the long term effects of climate change—and be responsible with our natural resources. Our wild places are the real wealth of our nation, not short-sited profits that only benefit a few.

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