The Arctic Refuge: The deadline to support protection is nearing

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

USFWS Headquarters Flickr

After decades of calls to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we finally have an opportunity to help gain permanent wilderness protection for the refuge. For the first time ever, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering a plan to protect the Arctic refuge’s coastal plain, the biological heart of the refuge.

The plan would protect this wildlife-rich Alaska gem from unrelenting efforts by the oil and gas industry and its cronies in Congress to drill in the refuge. But members of the public have only until Nov. 15 to tell the Fish and Wildlife Service that they support the plan.

A groundswell of public comments could help ensure the right decision. The Fish and Wildlife Service is revising the refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan, which will guide the agency’s management of the refuge for the next 15 years. The draft of that document includes an option to recommend wilderness status for the wildlife-rich coastal plain.

So far, more than 25,000 supporters of The Wilderness Society  have responded to our calls for help. Please join them by signing this letter to the Fish and Wildlife Service in support of wilderness protection for the coastal plain. After Nov. 15 it will be too late.

The Arctic Refuge is America’s last great frontier, a vast land of wild tundra plains and epic migrations of caribou herds. From the boreal forests of the Porcupine River uplands to the slopes of the Brooks Range and the arctic tundra of the coastal plain, the Arctic Refuge contains a variety of landscapes that have sustained Gwich’in Native communities for thousands of years. This sanctuary also is vital to polar bears, musk oxen, caribou, fish and migratory birds. It is the crown jewel of our National Refuge System, and should never be imperiled by drilling rigs and oil spills. Time is running out. Please don’t miss your chance to be part of this historic movement to protect the Arctic Refuge.