Protect Our Public Lands

University of Connecticut-Hartford Undergraduate Student Government votes to support protecting the Arctic Refuge

TPIN | Used by permission
Students pose with a "Protect the Arctic Forever" sign

The Undergraduate Student Government at UConn Hartford has passed a resolution supporting protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This resolution supports work by the Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign to prevent oil and gas activities on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is an undeveloped area in Northeast Alaska known for an abundance of wildlife including forty-five species of land and marine mammals including polar bears, wolf, moose, mountain sheep and bowhead whales. While 8.9 million acres are protected as wilderness, the 1.5-million-acre coastal plain, the biological heart of the Refuge, remains vulnerable to oil drilling. The Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign is campaigning to gather commitments from national and international insurance companies to not provide insurance cover to development in the Arctic Refuge. 

“As a resident and student of Connecticut I am proud to see my University understand the importance of protecting the Arctic Refuge from development,” said Romina Flores Diaz, First-Year Student at UConn Hartford and Intern with the Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign. “The Arctic Refuge is one of our last untouched places in the United States. Protecting the porcupine caribou herd and the Gwich’in People’s sacred land outweighs any marginal economic gain.”

The coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is critically important to the porcupine caribou herd, one of the largest herds in North America. The herd relies almost exclusively on the thin band of land along the coast of the refuge to birth and nurse their young. The roads, pipelines, drill rigs and other disruption that comes with oil drilling could drive the caribou away from their calving grounds and thus threaten the Gwich’in People, whose way of life depends upon the health of the herd. 

“By passing this resolution we are uniting the voice of UConn Hartford students speaking directly to Hartford’s insurance companies, asking them to not provide insurance cover to development in the Arctic Refuge,” said Andy Lanza, President of the Undergraduate Student Government. “We are proud to do our part in Connecticut to protect the Arctic Refuge and hopefully inspire other institutions across Connecticut to do the same.” 

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