Washington, DC (September 11, 2019)—Today, leaders in the U.S. Senate introduced the Arctic Refuge Protection Act to designate the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain a wilderness area and protect it from destructive oil and gas development. Later this week, the U.S. House of Representatives is slated to introduce the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act that would also halt efforts to drill in the Arctic Refuge and provide permanent protections to this essential habitat for birds and other wildlife.
These historic bills would restore the protections that were eliminated with the passing of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which mandated oil and gas leasing, development, and production on the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is teeming with life—and is a nursery to millions of breeding and migratory birds that connect the refuge to every state and six continents. Oil development threatens this vibrant ecosystem and the Indigenous Peoples who rely on this sacred land for food security and cultural identity,” said Sarah Greenberger, senior vice president of conservation policy for the National Audubon Society. “The majority of Americans agree that oil and gas development does not belong in the Arctic Refuge. We are thankful to lawmakers in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate for listening to the public and acting to protect this place.”
Birds from every U.S. state rely on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. From Pacific Brant in California, to Semipalmated Sandpipers seen in Florida, and the Snow Geese who winter in the southwest—all make the incredible journey back to their summer home in the Arctic. The Refuge is an essential subsistence resource for the Indigenous Peoples of Alaska and Canada and is also the most important onshore denning habitat for polar bears in the United States.
The National Audubon Society joins a coalition of Indigenous, human rights, and environmental organizations in supporting efforts to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas development.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more how to help at www.audubon.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.
Since 1977, Audubon Alaska's mission is to conserve the spectacular natural ecosystems of the state, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats, for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. Audubon Alaska uses science to identify conservation priorities and support conservation actions and policies, with an emphasis on public lands and waters. Audubon Alaska is a state office of the National Audubon Society. Learn more at www.AudubonAlaska.org.
Jason Howe, Media Relations Manager, National Audubon Society, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-595-9245
Rebecca Sentner, Communications Manager, Audubon Alaska, email@example.com, 907.276.7034