OCA Supports the Arctic Refuge Protection Act

Alaska Wilderness League logo. Mountains over text

We have an opportunity this year to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas drilling. In 2017, the previous Administration pushed through a bill that changed the purpose of the Arctic NWR to include oil and gas development. That bill required lease sales in the Arctic NWR 1002 coastal plain, which is home to the Porcupine caribou herd, denning polar bears, and scores of migratory waterfowl.

You to can protect the Arctic Refuge from drilling by urging your congressmembers to support the Arctic Refuge Protection Act

Now, we have the opportunity to protect this remarkable place once again. Now that the COVID-19 package has passed both chambers of Congress, they will turn their attention to an infrastructure package. We want to get Arctic NWR protection language in this bill, to reverse the 2017 language. We are asking your Friends organization to sign onto the attached letter. This particular letter is looking for groups, not individuals. If your Friends Group is interested in signing on, we would appreciate it! We only have 50 groups on so far, and we really would like to get to 100.
Thank you!

A Polar Bear eyeing seals on the ice flows.

This is the letter the Executive Committee has voted to sign, for Olympic Climate Action.

Arctic Refuge Protection Act Community Support Letter

March 22, 2021

Dear Senator/Representative:

On behalf of our millions of members and supporters nationwide, we urge you to cosponsor the Arctic Refuge Protection Act (S. 282/H.R. 815). This critical legislation would restore essential protections for the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge while also safeguarding the subsistence rights of Arctic Indigenous peoples. A provision included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 mandated two oil and gas lease sales for the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge and despite a failed first sale, without congressional action a second sale is mandated. By restoring protections to the coastal plain, this legislation sides with the vast majority of the American public who oppose oil and gas drilling in one of America’s greatest remaining wild places. Congress must take action to prevent the shortsighted destruction of this treasured wildlife refuge.

The Gwich’in people call the coastal plain “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins” and have relied for thousands of years on the Porcupine caribou that use it as their calving and nursery grounds. Oil and gas development threatens to alter the caribou migration and population and destroy the coastal plain’s natural values, risking the way of life of the Gwich’in and other Indigenous peoples who rely on those values. Considered the biological heart of the Arctic Refuge, the coastal plain also provides critical denning habitat for the threatened Southern Beaufort Sea population of polar bears and nesting grounds for millions of migratory birds. As the most critical part of the Arctic Refuge’s delicate ecosystem, the coastal plain is a perfect example of a place that should be off-limits to oil drilling and industrial development.

Pro-drilling advocates claimed oil and gas leasing in the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge would provide a $1 billion offset to the 2017 Tax Act. These fraudulent assertions about projected revenues were disproven by the recent Arctic Refuge oil and gas lease sale held in January 2021. A complete financial failure, the lease sale only raised approximately $6 million for the U.S. Treasury, less than 1% of the $1 billion in revenue promised to American taxpayers. The lease sale also failed to receive industry interest, with only half of the tracts receiving bids, no major oil companies bidding, and the state of Alaska placing nearly all of the winning bids. Alaska is considered one of the most expensive sources of oil in the United States to produce, and with the six largest U.S. banks and two dozen international banks adopting policies to preclude financing for Arctic oil and gas development, it is no wonder companies are not interested in drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

Warming three times as fast as the global average, the Arctic is ground zero for climate change. Proposed oil development on the coastal plain would produce an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil, an amount that threatens to release a carbon bomb of 4.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere. This is equivalent to the annual emissions from more than 1,100 coal-fired power plants and would contribute significantly to the climate crisis. Just the process alone of extracting oil and gas from the coastal plain would create an additional 26 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the development’s projected lifetime. We need legislation that protects intact ecosystems, not oil and gas development that poses serious biological, cultural and climate threats.

With a second lease sale mandated under the 2017 Tax Act, legislative action must be taken this Congress to prevent a second sale and restore protections for the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge. Shielding the coastal plain from oil and gas development has long been one of the highest profile conservation issues in the United States — we need to protect this irreplaceable land, now more than ever. It is up to us to preserve important places like this for our children’s children and to respect the Alaska Native cultures that have depended on these lands for generations. We urge you to cosponsor the Arctic Refuge Protection Act to help protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from irreversible harm.

Sincerely,

Gwich’in Steering Committee
Acadia Center
Advocates for the Environment
Alaska Wilderness League Action
Alliance for Climate Education
American Packrafting Association
Anthropocene Alliance
Arctic Audubon Society
Arkansas Valley Audubon Society
Audubon California
Audubon Mid-Atlantic
Audubon New York Audubon of Western Everglades
Audubon Rockies
Audubon Southwest
Audubon Vermont
Audubon Washington
AzulBack Bay National Wildlife Refuge Society
Bexar Audubon Society
Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter
Bold Alliance
Bozeman Birders
Brighter Green
Bronx River Sound Shore Audubon
Bucks County Audubon Society
Businesses for a Livable Climate
Call to Action Colorado
Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife
Cape Henry Audubon Society
CatholicNetwork.US
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Sustainable Economy
Central Westchester Audubon Society
Chequamegon Audubon
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Chicago Audubon Society
Citizens’ Climate International City of Boulder – Energy Task Force
Clean Energy Action
Clean Energy Action – Colorado
Clean Water Action
Climate Hawks Vote
Climate Law & Policy Project
Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates
Colorado Businesses for a Livable Climate
Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes
Conservation Northwest
Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship
Cultural Survival
Cumberland-Harpeth Audubon Society
Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action
Defenders of Wildlife
Desert Rivers Audubon Society
Detroit Audubon”Ding” Darling Wildlife Society
Dominican Sisters
Downeast Chapter of Maine Audubon
Earth Action, Inc.Earth Ministry
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Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Fund Our Future
Genesee Valley Audubon Society
Georgia Interfaith Power and Light
Glasswaters Foundation
Grand Valley Audubon Board Member
Greater Akron Audubon Society
Greater Ozarks Audubon
GreenLatinos
Greenpeace USA
Green-Rock Audubon Society
Hip Hop Caucus
Hispanic Access Foundation
Hispanic Federation
Indigenous Environmental Network
Indivisible Anchorage
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
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International Fund for Animal Welfare
John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute
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Lake County Audubon Society
League of Conservation Voters
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Madison Audubon Society
Maine Conservation Voters
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Minnesota Audubon Society
Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter
Missouri River Bird Observatory
National Audubon Society
National Wildlife Federation
National Wildlife Refuge Association
Native Movement
Natural Resources Defense Council
Nelson Century Farms
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Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
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Northern Alaska Environmental Center
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Oakland Audubon Society
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Olympic Climate Action
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Pacific Environment
Palos Verdes/South Bay Audubon Society
Patagonia Pelican Island Audubon Society
PennEnvironment
Polar Bears International
Prairie Hills Audubon Society of Western South Dakota
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Prescot Audubon Society
Prince George’s Audubon Society
Progressive Democrats of America
Pueblo Action Alliance
Rachel Carson Council
RapidShift Network
Raptors Are the Solution
Redbud Audubon Society
Region VI Coalition for Responsible Investment
San Diego Audubon Society
Sangre de Cristo Audubon Society
Santa Clara University
Save Our Illinois Land
Save the Canyons
Seeding Sovereignty
Seminole Audubon Society
Sierra Club
Sisters of Mary Reparatrix
Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt, New York
South Mountain Audubon Society
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
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St Lucie Audubon
Stand Up Alaska
Stanislaus Audubon Society
Sustainable Tri-Cities
Tampa Audubon Society
Texas Campaign for the Environment
The Wilderness Society
Topeka Audubon Society
Trustees for Alaska
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Venice Area Audubon Society
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Vermont Conservation Voters
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Wachiska Audubon
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