Alaska’s Arctic is a diverse region of landscapes that ranges northward across the fabled Brooks Range and a diverse mix of valleys, foothills, tundra, open plains, wetlands, lakes, and rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean. Within that region, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 19.3 million acres, the largest unit in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Our nation holds some of the planet’s finest lands and waters to explore the wild places. Our ability to hunt and fish in places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a unique American right. The reaches of northern Alaska are important habitat for both game and non-game mammals, birds and fish, and we call on decision-makers in Congress to protect these wild lands for the future.
In 2017, shortsighted legislative language opened the wildlife-rich coastal plain of the Refuge to energy exploration and development. Despite the fact that the first lease sale was an absolute failure, raising less than 1% of promised revenues with Wall Street refusing to invest and no major energy companies showing up to bid, the oil and gas leasing program is still legally obligated to move forward. Right now, Congress has their best opportunity to restore protections for the Arctic National Refuge by removing that mandate through the budget reconciliation process.
Congressional leaders have committed to advancing reconciliation by the end of the year which is why we must ensure that language is included to reverse course, terminate the oil and gas leasing program, and restore protections for this unparalleled landscape while we have this narrow window of opportunity. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is truly a last wild frontier and needs to remain that way - with rich habitat for fish wildlife and the opportunity for future hunters and anglers to enjoy forever.
Photo Credit: Alexis Bonogofsky