News

January 7, 2021

The Office of Government Relations for The Episcopal Church is asking for help to stop the progression of oil and gas exploration in the critical ecosystem of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

The Trump administration announced that it will initiate the process of selling leases to oil and gas companies for drilling in the Refuge. The federal Bureau of Land Management, which administers the Refuge, issued a “call of nominations” on Tuesday to oil and gas companies to identify tracts of land they would like to explore and potentially drill on within the refuge.

Drilling in the Arctic Refuge would devastate one of the most diverse Arctic ecosystems. Noise pollution and oil spills resulting from exploration and drilling could imperil wildlife like the Porcupine caribou and prove fatal for already endangered species.

For decades, The Episcopal Church has supported our members from the Gwich’in tribe who have called the lands within the Refuge home for 20,000 years. The Gwich’in have ancestral, cultural, and spiritual ties with Porcupine caribou herd and have long relied on them for sustenance. Fossil fuel extraction would disturb the caribou calving grounds and severely disrupt the livelihoods of the Gwich’in.

Early last year, The Office of Government Relations called on Episcopalians to urge the passage of the bipartisan Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act, a bill that would restore environmental protections for the Arctic Refuge and revoke the provision in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that opened the refuge to drilling. The bill passed the House, but the Senate has refused to consider it. Please contact your Senators and urge them to take up S. 2461 – the Arctic Refuge Protection Act.


The was originally shared by The Episcopal Church’s The Office of Government Relations. View the original post here.