Protect The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

What is the Arctic Refuge?

(image source: https://alaskaconservation.org/protecting-alaska/priorities/protecting-lands-waters/arctic/anwr/)

The Arctic is a region that consists of extremely cold temperatures, extreme winds, and extreme seasonal changes in daylight. This may seem like an unpleasant place for life, but there’s actually tons of wildlife thriving throughout the region. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to 40+ species of mammals and 200+ species of birds. From mammals like polar bears or whales, to birds, fish and small plants, the Arctic is flooded with wildlife.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is located in North Eastern Alaska, United States. It also consists of 19,286,722 acres of wilderness in North Eastern Alaska. These acres consist of some of the most pristine lands and waters within the United States. There are no roads or marked trails, leaving this incredible land available for recreational uses like fishing or hunting.

With just the knowledge of who lives within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, it’s plausible to infer that oil drilling here would be a terrible plan with many consequences on all life (including hastening the climate change crisis!)

Why Are We Protecting The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

(image source: Saul Loeb/AFP (Getty Images)

The Trump administration has been pushing a plan to begin oil and gas lease sales within the Arctic refuge’s coastal plain. An area that the Gwich’in people have claimed as a “scared place where life begins.” These people are specifically opposed to opening the area for oil drilling because they live outside the refuge and depend on the Porcupine Caribou Herd for their food supply and way of life. They know the land better than anyone which is why they can defend it with accurate information and great passion.

Bernadette Demientieff, Executive Director of the Gwich’in in Steering Committee, claims that the plan “demonstrates that this administration and the Alaska delegation will disregard our way of life, food, our relationship with the land, the Caribou, and future generations to pander to industry greed.”

(image source: https://medium.com/2030magazine/this-is-our-birthright-61ae440b2283)

The Area within the Arctic Refuge that’s being considered for oil drilling is also known as the “1002 Area.” Although the 1002 Area includes most of the Refuge’s coastal plain and Arctic Foothill regions, it only compromises 10% of the entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This may seem like a small amount, but there are numerous factors to consider.

A main factor is the potentially large effects that just exploration has. Including the possible alteration of natural drainage patterns, deposition of alkaline dust over wide areas, contamination of soil and water with fuel and oil from spills, and disturbing, blocking or deflecting wildlife.

All of these dangerous effects may not definitely occur, but the risk of them should be enough to protect the region from intrusive human activity.

According to a report from the Bureau of Land Management, development of oil drilling could require energy companies to pump out large volumes from the coastal plains limited water bodies, causing losses in food and habitat for waterbirds and other wildlife dependent on those water bodies. Additionally, habitats for nesting (birds and other wildlife) will be lost to the newly created infrastructure and roads. Drilling rigs, communication towers and vehicles also become the newest predators for wildlife in the Arctic Refuge.

According to the United States Senate…

In the Trump Administration’s plan to disrupt life within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge through the potential gas and oil lease sales, they violate numerous laws that protect the Coastal Plain while ensuring honesty and rectitude of the decision-making process.

Click to access (12.16.2020)%202020.12.16%20FINAL%20Arctic%20Leasing%20Letter%20to%20DOI.pdf

Some Laws that are in violation include:

  • Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act
  • National Environmental Policy Act
  • National Historic Preservation Act
  • Wilderness Act
  • Endangered Species Act
  • National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act

What Can I Do To Help?

There are many social media platforms currently promoting the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Reposting and sharing information is one great way to help bring attention to this problem.

Also, do your own research by looking up more information on the damage that oil drilling can cause. I’ll provide my sources at the end of the article so you can search through those as well!

Another way to help is to visit organizations that allow you to use your name and voice your thoughts on messages sent to the president and secretary.

1. NRDC.ORG

https://www.nrdc.org/protect-arctic-national-wildlife-refuge

2. PROTECT THE ARCTIC / Action Needed By January 6, 2021

https://www.protectthearctic.org/take-action-to-protect-the-arctic-national-wildlife-refuge

3. ARCTIC REFUGE DEFENSE CAMPAIGN

https://www.arcticrefugedefense.org/act/take-action?sc=ig

Thanks For Reading!

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is in need of support and help from all American citizens. It’s urgent to protect the communities that are dependent on the Arctic Refuge before they lose their way of life. We’re the only way of communication from wildlife to our government. Therefore, please feel encouraged to add your name to any of the links provided and research more about the situation! Contact me with any questions or comments via email or social media. #ProtectTheArctic

Sources Used:

https://www.nrdc.org/protect-arctic-national-wildlife-refuge

ESA POSITION STATEMENT: The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

https://www.audubon.org/news/final-plan-arctic-refuge-drilling-could-cause-extinctions-admits-government

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – Oil and Gas Development

8 thoughts on “Protect The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

  1. Thank you for this article, Maddie. Awareness is one of the major steps in addressing these issues. I’m grateful that public policy is now turning toward the light in terms of conservation.

    Liked by 1 person

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