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Big Oil continues its assault on the Arctic by pushing for increasing oil drilling. This time it’s the Western Arctic that's particularly at risk.

Next week, House Republicans are expected to unveil a legislative package that once again calls for drilling everywhere, regardless of the risks and impacts to the climate, and to our nation's wildlands and wildlife. It includes one especially threatening bill – HR 2150 - which undermines a balanced land management approach for the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

The land in the National Petroleum Reserve- Alaska is the nation's largest, wildest landscape. This area in the Western Arctic supports the calving grounds of our nation’s largest caribou herd, the highest concentration of grizzly bears and wolverines in the Arctic, and critical habitat for millions of shorebirds and waterfowl.

To get a look at some of these remarkable animals, Sierra magazine just put together an amazing Arctic animal slideshow featuring images from photographer Florian Schulz.

Spanning 23.5 million acres across the western North Slope of Alaska, the Reserve is the largest single unit of public land in the nation. The Alaska Native communities that live along the Reserve have maintained a subsistence lifestyle for thousands of years based on the Reserve's living resources.

While oil and gas activities have a place in the Reserve, the areas most important to wildlife and subsistence use must be kept off limits to development. Currently, there is no real lasting protection for these unique and special lands and waters, including the Utukok Uplands, which is extremely important for subsistence hunting for Native villages, and Teshepuk Lake, a globally significant area for shorebird populations and key to polar bears.

If House Republicans have their way, the oil industry will exploit this special place in the Arctic and expose its plants and wildlife to numerous hazards.

We must ensure that responsible decisions are made when it comes to development in the Western Arctic. We need balance and to protect these special pieces.

The Western Arctic sustains Native communities and is home to irreplaceable wild places and wildlife, and is already feeling the impact from climate disruption. Given these threats, we must ensure that the most special places for wildlife and wilderness are granted the strongest possible protections.

You can help – take action now to tell President Obama that some places are just too special to drill. He should protect both the Polar Bear Seas and the Western Arctic.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Your action link at the end of the diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball

    does not go to the right place.

    “Parties do not lead revolutions. They follow them. And then only when forced to.” Joe Bageant

    by tgypsy on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 11:30:44 AM PDT

  •  You don't want drilling in the NPR? (0+ / 0-)

    You don't want to drill for oil and gas in the National Petroleum Reserve?

    It's the size of Indiana, what percent of it do you think is actually going to be required for oil and gas infrastructure?

    •  You missed this part... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Senor Unoball

      From my column: "While oil and gas activities have a place in the Reserve, the areas most important to wildlife and subsistence use must be kept off limits to development."

    •  Not what diary says (0+ / 0-)
      While oil and gas activities have a place in the Reserve, the areas most important to wildlife and subsistence use must be kept off limits to development. Currently, there is no real lasting protection for these unique and special lands and waters, including the Utukok Uplands, which is extremely important for subsistence hunting for Native villages, and Teshepuk Lake, a globally significant area for shorebird populations and key to polar bears.
      Even I acknowledge that this reserve has been designed for oil exploration. Some exploration has been done through the years. Most of the reserve is appropriate for drilling.

      At the same time, however, I also agree that the most vital wildlife habitat, particularly Teshepuk Lake, must be kept off the table.

      I'm not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was. -- Mitt the Twit

      by Senor Unoball on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 12:53:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So what are we looking at? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Senor Unoball

        All the Sierra club email mentions is:

        Tell President Obama that some places are just too special to drill – he should protect both the Polar Bear Seas and the Western Arctic:
        Isn't Teshepuk in the Northeastern part?  What are two areas in question?
        •  Let's look at the map (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MGross

          Here's a BLM map of current leases (pdf).

          You can see that most all current leases are on the eastern and southern sections of the reserve.

          Leases in the Barrow area have primarily been relinquished and those near Teshepuk have primarily expired.

          If the protest is against expanding leasing to the western part of the reserve, that would probably be designed to protect the people of Pt. Lay, Wainwright or other coastal villages from the effects of drilling.

          However, the interior of the reserve is essentially uninhabited.

          As far as drilling on the North Slope (not in the ocean), the biggest dangers are to polar bears that den to the east of the reserve, on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. ANWR is also home to the Porcupine Caribou Herd, which is the largest caribou herd in the world and is vital to the subistence of Gwich'in Natives in the villages of northeast Alaska and northwest Canada.

          Of course polar bears use all waters of the Arctic Ocean, including the Beaufort and Chuckhi seas, so any oil activity, even land-based, that affects the coasts could harm polar bears.

          So, the way I read the protest is to call attention to the western part of the reserve, as well as Teshepuk and other important wildlife habitat.

          I'm not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was. -- Mitt the Twit

          by Senor Unoball on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 01:53:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Say "Hi" to Shell! (0+ / 0-)

    Ha, just saw this on Wonkette.

    Turns out that Shell is allowing, for some addle-brained reason, people to do their own ads on behalf of Arctic drilling.

    Things aren't going quite as they had expected, I suspect.

    Hahaha!!!!

    I'm not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was. -- Mitt the Twit

    by Senor Unoball on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 12:56:53 PM PDT

  •  I have two questions (0+ / 0-)

    What do the people who live there think?

    Would oil exploration and production harm wildlife in any significant way? Says who?

    After Prudoe Bay caribou increased, now there are down, turns out there are huge fluctuations in the herds that have nothing to do with us. If Sierra Club tells me anything I'm immediately  looking to hear the other side. They are on my baddy list.

    The theory that nature is permanently in balance has been largely discredited

    by ban nock on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 02:35:00 PM PDT

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