The Trump administration wants to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and fast. The Bureau of Land Management isn’t taking public emails to #ProtectTheArctic from oil and gas drilling, so we’re sending a handwritten letter to their mailbox today–who’s with us?
Why is this a big deal?
Drilling in the Arctic Refuge is risky and unnecessary—it violates the human rights of Indigenous peoples, will exacerbate climate change in an area that’s already deeply affected by climate impacts, and will cause irreversible destruction to a landscape.
The Gwich’in Nation consider the coastal plain sacred and have relied on the Porcupine Caribou Herd that migrates there for thousands of years for their primary food source and way of life. They rely on the herd for 80% of their diet.
Almost all of the coastal plain is designated as critical denning habitat for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act, where mother bears give birth and nurse their newborn cubs.
Even large financial institutions like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo have announced they will not fund any efforts to drill in the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge, which is sacred to the Gwich’in people. Even oil companies like BP have pulled out of Alaska and recognize the risk and are not supporting any oil and gas development in the Arctic Refuge.
So, here’s the deal:
- All letters must be postmarked by Thursday, December 10, 2020.
- Send it to: State Director, BLM Alaska State Office, 222 West 7th Ave., MailStop 13, Anchorage, AK 99513-7504
- Be sure to use the tract #s in your personal comments so BLM will capture your input. “Tracts #1 – 32” will work!
- Head to the Sierra Club toolkit for writing tips (those reasons we listed above are great talking points to copy).
- Stay tuned to orgs like Defend the Sacred Alaska, Native Movement, and Sierra Club to learn more.
- Share your letters in your Instagram stories + feeds, and tag #ProtectTheArctic & #StandWithTheGwichin.