The Arctic is alive. In the summer, the Refuge breathes in life. Animals from near and far gather here, seeking refuge from a world of encroaching hazards to receive their most sacred needs: sustenance and safe harbor for bearing their young. In the winter, the Refuge exhales and Arctic life ventures out across the globe - enduring great travails until they return here once more to renew the cycle of life.
On December 6, 2010, the Arctic Refuge will celebrate its 50th anniversary. The American people have successfully defended this last true wilderness refuge from Big Oil's attacks for 50 years. Now it is time to ask our leaders to support formal permanent Wilderness designation for the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge by cosponsoring and supporting H.R. 39, the Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act.
Tell Washington to wake up: the American people have spoken. Let's finally protect the Arctic Refuge for good!
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was first established as the Arctic National Wildlife Range on December 6, 1960 by President Eisenhower for its “unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values.” The Coastal Plain is the biological center of the Arctic Refuge and the birthplace of countless iconic species including wolves, grizzly bears, and caribou. Close to one hundred species of birds begin their lives each summer on this vast expanse of tundra and then journey to all 50 states and across six continents – including the Arctic tern, which has the longest migration of any bird on the planet. In the winter, polar bear mothers build dens on the Coastal Plain, where they give birth and nurse their young. The Coastal Plain is the most important land denning habitat for the threatened polar bear, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service recently proposed most of the Refuge’s Coastal Plain as critical habitat.
As our natural world is increasingly battered by climate change, fossil fuel development, and the demands of a burgeoning human population, the Arctic Refuge remains a last vestige of the world as it was. In light of these increasing threats, we must move decisively to protect the Arctic Refuge if we are to preserve it for future generations. Exploiting this natural treasure would fail to address our energy needs, destroy its wilderness values, harm wildlife, and exacerbate climate change. Instead, we need to move toward a clean energy economy and protect our last remaining natural treasures, such as the Arctic Refuge.
If we fail to protect the Arctic Refuge now, we will lose a place that represents a connection to the natural world that has been lost across much of our nation. I urge you to advance the strongest legislative actions available for protecting the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge by supporting H.R. 39, the Arctic wilderness bill. Together, we must do everything we can to ensure that the Arctic Refuge remains undiminished for future generations.