Arctic drilling an abomination

To the editor,

Let’s call the effort to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling what it truly is: a political game. A recent study by the Center for American Progress found that drilling in the Arctic Refuge could generate up to $37.5 million over the next 10 years, which is nowhere near the $1 billion the Senate is tasked to generate. This is simply another attempt by some members of Congress and the Trump administration to hand over our country’s treasured public lands to development.

The Arctic Refuge is the crown jewel of our National Wildlife Refuge System and public land that belongs to all Americans. The coastal plain, where the drilling would occur, is the biological heart of the refuge and home to threatened polar bears, the Porcupine Caribou Herd, musk oxen, wolves and nearly 200 species of migratory birds that migrate to six continents and all 50 states. The Arctic Refuge and the Porcupine Caribou Herd have also sustained the Gwich’in people for thousands of years. Protecting the caribou and the Gwich’in way of life is a matter of basic human rights.

The Arctic Refuge is too special to drill, and prioritizing development over the health and welfare of the wildlife and people that depend upon the refuge survival is shameful. Sen. Gardner must stand up to special interests and oppose any efforts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. Let’s call Gardner to make our voices heard.

– Kim Piper Bartasavich, Durango