Trump Administration Pushes For Oil Exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Trump Administration has clandestinely moved to allow oil exploration in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, home to over 1,000 miles of designated and eligible Wild and Scenic Rivers that are the ecological lifeblood of the area.

Ivishak Wild and Scenic River. | U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Without notifying the public, the Trump Administration has moved to allow oil exploration in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for the first time in 30 years. In a series of memos the Department of the Interior has proposed to permit seismic studies – that were previously deemed unlawful – to assess the available oil within the Refuge, the first step toward full blown drilling that would destroy the ecological integrity of this pristine area.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a vast 30,000 square mile patchwork of wild rivers, wilderness, and coastal plains that serve as a sanctuary for polar bears, caribou, and wolves. It contains one of the best collections of Wild and Scenic Rivers in Alaska, and therefore the country.

The Ivishak, upper Sheenjek, and Wind Rivers were designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers in December 1980 when Congress enacted the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. These rivers play an integral part in supporting the web of life within the Arctic Refuge. The rivers support salmon and arctic char and the grizzly bears that feed on them. The river valleys provide wintering habitat to the famed Porcupine Caribou herd, some 120,000 strong, and support migratory birds from all over the planet.

The refuge is also fed by over 800 miles of eligible Wild and Scenic Rivers, meaning they have been found by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be free-flowing and have truly outstanding values. The agency completed a robust analysis of the river resources on the refuge and found exceptional remote recreational opportunities and abundant historical, cultural, and archaeological values worth protecting.

Caribou along the Sheenjek River.

These rivers, including the Porcupine, Canning, Kongakut, and the Hulahula, are truly wild, home to all kinds of wildlife – polar bears, caribou, Dall Sheep, wolverine, and raptors. The Gwich’in Athabascan people rely on the caribou, beaver, and salmon as a part of their living cultural traditions. These same rivers also provide unmatched remote and rugged multi-day paddling opportunities. Given their status as eligible Wild and Scenic Rivers they must be managed to protect their free-flowing condition, water quality, wild character, and their outstandingly remarkable values.

The watersheds of these incredible Wild and Scenic rivers are no place for oil drilling. We must defend our public waters and lands from a corporate giveaway by the Trump Administration and anti-environment members of Congress.

11 responses to “Trump Administration Pushes For Oil Exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

  1. Trump is the biggest rip-off artist ever. The Arctic should never be drilled. It cannot be drilled safely. Especially at this time.

    1. I don’t plan a multi day paddling expedition soon but I would like to have some gas in my 15 year old car’s gas tank soon as well as later. And just when I was hoping not to see any more bears in my yard I’m supposed to worry about bear sanctuaries? Isn’t it bad enough that foxes ate my chickens? I really don’t want pristine natural conditions to be undisturbed. I want pristine planned and maintained areas all over our blue planet to provide abundant life for humans and most but not necessarily all of the .7% of animals on planet Earth that have not already gone extinct.

      We will make mistakes but extracting some oil from underground deposits while sequestering CO2 there sounds like a great thing to me. We have to be careful. Use some of your energy to ask Chevron to clean up their mess in Ecuador, please.

  2. Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is now being considered in order to offset the Trump Administration’s proposed tax cuts within the budget package. Below are some key Senator Budget Committee members who need to hear from us with the message that, “A provision for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge DOES NOT belong in the final budget bill”:

    Murray: WA | Sanders: VT | Wyden: OR | Stabenow: MI | Whitehouse: RI | Warner: VA | Merkley: OR | Kaine: VA | King: ME | Van Hollen: MD | Harris: CA | Lindsey Graham: SC

    Also, please contact each of your Senators and ask them to vote against the budget bill if it contains such a provision. Thank you!

  3. i think that that is wrong our animals and cuture should be preserved and trump should have at least notifyed the public

  4. There are Many clean and environmentally responsible paths to clean energy for our nation. These also open up jobs for our people. Please move away from dirty oil and destruction of culturally and environmentally precious and essential lands.

      1. We inherit resources. We can bury them and leave them undeveloped or we can develope them and create more resources. Wouldn’t it be nicer to live more abundantly?

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