Nov 20, 2010

Senators Ask Obama to Protect Arctic NWR

Arctic NWR 50th AnniversaryIn a letter dated November 19, 2010, 25 United States senators asked President Barack Obama to take additional steps to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (which could include making it a national monument), thus protecting the Refuge from risky and potentially damaging energy development.

The letter states:

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on December 6, 2010, we ask that you grant the Arctic Refuge the strongest possible protections…Recent polling shows that two thirds of Americans support stronger protections for the Refuge…

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is truly one of the America’s greatest wild places. Its Coastal Plain hosts an amazing diversity of wildlife including polar bears, grizzly bears, muskoxen, wolverines, and over a hundred thousand caribou. This “biological heart” of the Refuge is connected to the entire country, as well as to countries all around the world. Every year, birds that begin their lives on the Coastal Plain migrate to all 50 states and across six continents, before heading back to the Arctic, where the cycle of life begins again…

The people of the Gwich’in Nation call this area “the Sacred Place where life begins” because it is vital to their subsistence lifestyle. They, together with other Alaska Native tribes and Canadian First Nation people, depend on the caribou for food and as a link to their traditional way of life. Many Inupiat people across the North Slope have voiced opposition to oil drilling in the Refuge because they are increasingly feeling the cumulative effects of oil and gas development in the North Slope of Alaska on their subsistence resources and way of life…

As you continue important efforts across the country through the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, we urge you to also take steps to provide additional protections to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The letter is signed by:

  • Joseph Lieberman
  • Tom Udall
  • Diane Feinstein
  • Mark Udall
  • Maria Cantwell
  • Ron Wyden
  • Sheldon Whitehouse
  • Tom Harkin
  • Patty Murray
  • Frank Lautenberg
  • Russ Feingold
  • Jeff MerkleyBen Cardin
  • Michael Bennet
  • Dick Durbin
  • Chris Dodd
  • Jack Reed
  • Jeanne Shaheen
  • Barbara Boxer
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • Al Franken
  • Tom Carper
  • Debbie Stabenow
  • Robert Menendez
  • John Kerry

No Republicans apparently signed the letter. One can only assume that it’s because they’re too indebted to the oil lobby or they’re too afraid of the Tea Party activists to support such a measure.

Refuge supporters and conservation-minded Americans appreciate the actions of these senators, and we can only hope that others will show the same brave leadership.

If your senator is on this list, please email or call to let them know you appreciate their actions.

And if your senator is not on this list, please contact them to ask why they do not support protecting the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from the kind of catastrophe that we saw in the Gulf this past summer.

You can visit the U.S. Senate website to find contact information.

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