Wilderness Society says ANWR 'too wild to drill'

"There are so few places in the world where entire ecosystems are still intact," said E. Barrett Ristroph, Arctic program representative in the society's Alaska regional office. The Arctic Refuge is one of these special places.

The Cordova Times

A report released July 23 by The Wilderness Society says the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is "too wild to drill."

"There are so few places in the world where entire ecosystems are still intact," said E. Barrett Ristroph, Arctic program representative in the society's Alaska regional office. "And even fewer places where you can see polar bears and caribou in their natural environment. The Arctic Refuge is one of these special places.

"It's important to all Americans who love public lands, but especially vital to Alaska Natives who depend on its rich subsistence resources."

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, spanning an area from the Brooks Range to the Arctic Ocean, is one of 12 places in the United States listed in the society's report as "too wild to drill."

The report says in part "Proposals to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling go back decades – including the high-stakes battle in Congress in the early 2000's. Currently, the 113th Congress is considering three bills to open the coastal plain to oil drilling. Alaska's governor, Sean Parnell, has also offered up to $50 million to send seismic testing equipment into the Arctic Refuge, potentially disturbing polar bears and cubs in their winter dens. Only a federal wilderness designation will protect the Refuge from relentless calls to drill. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should finalize its plan for managing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and recommend that the coastal plain be designated as protected wilderness. Congress should also act, and pass legislation to add the coastal plain to the National Wilderness Preservation System."

The others include Arches National Park, Utah; Chaco Canyon, New Mexico; Desolation Canyon, Utah; Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado; The George Washington National Forest, Virginia; Los Padres National Forest, California; North Fork of the Flathead, Montana, Otero Mesa, New Mexico; Thompson Divide, Colorado; Red Desert, Wyoming, and Wyoming Range, Wyoming.