Today ended the first 60-day public comment period for the Bureau of Land Management’s proposal to drill for oil in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A broad coalition of native, faith, sportsmen, veteran, and environmental organizations delivered more than 690,000 public comments in opposition to oil drilling in the Refuge.
“The Arctic Refuge is America’s largest and one of the wildest in the wildlife refuge system, and the coastal plain is the biological heart of the refuge,” said Erik DuMont, Environment America’s Stop Drilling Campaign Director. “It’s important to millions of birds from all 50 states and six continents, hibernating polar bears, and musk oxen, and it’s the calving ground for the nearly 200,000 member Porcupine Caribou herd.
“With clean, abundant, and economical energy choices available from sun and wind, no logical argument can justify industrial oil development in such a spectacular place as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” continued DuMont.
The Bureau of Land Management had a handful of hearings during this initial scoping phase, but only one hearing was held outside Alaska. At the “lower 48” hearing in Washington DC, on June 15th, over 150 people from as far away as upstate New York and Fort Myers, Florida gathered to protest the proposed oil drilling in the Refuge.
Inside that event, every speaker during the public portion of the hearing spoke out in opposition of allowing oil drilling in the Refuge.
“There’s an overwhelming national interest in keeping the Arctic Refuge free from industrial oil development. We sincerely hope that BLM considers the nearly 700,000 public comments and says no to drilling in this special place,” concluded DuMont.