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Right now the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is in its greatest peril of the last 50 years. Last year the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 established an oil and gas leasing program for the 1.5 million acre Coastal Plain in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). It requires that two oil and gas leasing projects happen in the next 10 years.
Today, the Trump Administration’s Department of Interior has quickly issued a scoping notice for an oil and gas leasing project on the Coastal Plain, the first step towards oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. The Department of Interior hopes to have a lease sale as early as next year, moving recklessly fast with an irresponsibly aggressive timeline. This is causing great concern that the normal environmental processes will be rushed or completed improperly in the race to begin the project. Currently, there is a 60-day comment period during which you can write the Department of Interior, lending your voice to the issue and standing up together to protect the ANWR.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is wildest place left in America and the largest national wildlife refuge in the US, covering over 19 million acres of untouched wilderness. It provides habitat for wildlife and migrating birds from across the globe, and a diverse range of wilderness lands. The coastal plain, the heart of the refuge, not only provides vital denning habitat for endangered polar bears and Porcupine Caribou, but is also home to Alaska’s indigenous Gwich’in people who have lived in the region for tens of thousands of years. Oil and gas drilling would have devastating impacts on fragile ecosystem, threatening critical wildlife habitat, destroying untouched Wilderness, and posing an unacceptable risk for oil and toxic spills.