Statement of Audubon President David Yarnold on the 50th Anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
“Protecting wild Alaska was bold and audacious 50 years ago. Defending it today is even more important."
“It is now up to us to make sure that one of the most untouched Arctic ecosystems in America remains intact. The combination of climate change and oil and gas development poses a “double threat” to America’s Arctic wildlife and wildlands. Warming temperatures are already causing significant ecological disruption, while industrial oil and gas development imperil species like the polar bear and migratory caribou. At risk is the biological heart of the Arctic Refuge, the 1.5 million acre Coastal Plain. Even though it includes some of the best polar bear denning and caribou calving habitat on the entire North Slope, this vital area lacks permanent protection.
“Audubon and our grassroots supporters, along with many other dedicated conservationists, have worked long and hard to keep the Refuge safe from oil and gas drilling. Now, we call on our nation’s leaders to continue the work their predecessors began five decades ago, by extending permanent protection to the Coastal Plain. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we must take this historic opportunity to take the next critical step to preserve America’s great Arctic wilderness.”
Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in conservation.
170 Scientists Call for Strongest Possible Protections for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge http://www.audubon.org/newsroom/press-releases/2010/scientists-call-strongest-possible-protections-arctic-national-wildlife