Opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Oil Drilling? Are You Concerned?

Updated: Dec 9, 2020


Politics aside, are you concerned about opening the Arctic

National Wildlife Refuge to Oil Drilling?


Even those economists who support a transition period in moving away from the fossil fuels, have stated that it makes no sense to continue to tap new sources of fossil fuels if they are serious about moving to a new energy economy. If you are interested in stating your opposition to opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, please see the letter template below.

Please make changes to the letter so that it expresses your opinion.


Background + How to Comment:

  • BLM is accepting public comments - only via snail mail - on their plan to sell off the Arctic Refuge coastal plain for drilling.

  • Note that BLM has divided up the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge into 32 sections, numbered tracts 1 through 32. (Here’s a link to the BLM map)

  • PLEASE be sure to use the tract #s in your personal comments so BLM will capture your input. “Tracts #1 - 32” will work!)

  • All comments must be postmarked by Thursday, December 10, 2020.

  • Mail your comments to State Director, BLM Alaska State Office, 222 West 7th Ave., MailStop 13, Anchorage, AK 99513-7504

  • Be aware that these comments will be posted on BLM’s website, so be careful what contact info or other personal info you include in your comment.


Step 1.

Please mail you letter by 12/10/2020 at the latest.


Sample Letter:

State Director, Bureau of Land Management Alaska State Office, 222 West 7th Avenue, Mailstop 13 Anchorage, AK 99513-7504. Dear State Director, The recent “call for nominations” for leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, issued Nov. 17, presents numerous problems that require further analysis. The Arctic Refuge is one of the last truly untouched wildernesses of North America. Drilling in the Refuge will be remembered as one of the great environmental tragedies of the 21st century, as well as a violation of the most basic human rights of the Gwich’in people. Every single tract that is under consideration for leasing contains sensitive habitat and resources that would be threatened by drilling. This includes habitat for threatened polar bears, countless bird species, and the Porcupine caribou herd, which the Gwich’in people rely on for their subsistence and culture. This rushed process has ignored concerns about threats to the Gwich’in people, threatened wildlife, and our climate. I urge BLM to remove tracts #1 - #32, identified in the call for nominations, from consideration for leasing. The potential destruction of both the environment and culture are too great to move forward. No politician’s ego is worth this recklessness. Thank you for your consideration, <Add Your Name Here>


Step 2.

Add your personalized message (Share your stories about the Refuge or use our handy talking points!).

Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain Lease Sale Talking points


Now is the time to defend the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from any and all attempts to lease for oil and gas drilling there. Include these talking points in your letter to the Bureau of Land Management, in your social media posts encouraging your family and friends to join the fight, or anywhere else you want to raise the alarm!


Topline Talking Points:

  • One of our last truly wild places, the Arctic Refuge is no place for drilling.

  • Every single one of the 32 tracts BLM is considering selling off for drilling in the Arctic Refuge coastal plain include sensitive resources that would be threatened by drilling.

  • The coastal plain is held sacred by the Gwich’in Nation, who have depended on this special place and the wildlife within it for their food security and way of life for generations.

  • Industrial development anywhere on the coastal plain poses an existential threat to the Gwich’in, threatening their food security and human rights, but the Department of the Interior has failed to adequately study the impacts of drilling on natural resources and the subsistence lifestyle of the Gwich’in people.

  • Even the most conservative economists who support a transition period in moving away from the fossil fuels, have stated that it makes no sense to continue to tap new sources of fossil fuels if we are truly serious about moving to a new energy economy.

  • This rushed process has ignored concerns about threats to the Gwich’in people, threatened wildlife, and our climate. This lease sale must not go forward.

Special Concerns About Caribou:

  • The Gwich’in Nation -- Indigenous people of Alaska and Canada - consider the coastal plain sacred and have relied on the Porcupine Caribou Herd that migrates there for thousands of years for their primary food source and way of life.

  • The Gwich’in have a deep cultural and spiritual connection to the caribou, and still rely on the herd for 80% of their diet.

  • The Porcupine Caribou Herd depends on the coastal plain as a safe place to calve their young, where baby caribou are protected from predators and insects that carry disease.

  • It is well documented that oil and gas development and infrastructure impacts and displaces caribou, and that caribou mothers are particularly sensitive to disruptions.

  • Gwich’in traditional knowledge also tells us that industrial activity in the coastal plain will disrupt the sacred calving and nursing grounds of the Porcupine Caribou Herd.

  • The entire coastal plain is critical for caribou, but BLM has failed to incorporate these concerns or adequately analyze or provide protections to address these impacts.

Special Concerns About Polar Bears:

  • Almost all of the coastal plain is designated as critical denning habitat for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act, where mother bears give birth and nurse their newborn cubs.

  • Keeping this area free from disturbances is essential to ensuring the survival of newborn polar bear cubs.

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has admitted that leasing in areas where polar bears den will negatively impact polar bears.

  • BLM has failed to adequately analyze the impact of drilling on polar bears.

Step 3.

Address and stamp your envelope to Alaska BLM: State Director, Bureau of Land Management, Alaska State Office, 222 West 7th Ave, Mailstop 13, Anchorage, AK 99513-7504.

Step 4.

Fold and stuff your letter, seal, and your message is ready to mail -- after step #3!

Please note:our letter as soon as possible -- make a plan to have your letterka BLM by Thursday 12/10 at the latest.

  • Be aware that these comments will be posted on BLM’s website, so be careful what contact info or other personal info you include in your comment.

  • Currently, stamps are 55 cents each. Please make sure that if you’re using an older non-Forever stamp, that your stamps will cover the current cost of postage.


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