Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Campaign

Photo: Ken Madsen
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Campaign
Alaska Wilderness League
Washington, DC and Anchorage, AK

Alaska Wilderness League is working to stop industrial activity on 1.6 million acres of rolling tundra, braided rivers, coastline and essential habitat of the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and to secure the strongest possible protections.
At nearly 20 million acres or 30,136 square miles, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge sits in Alaska’s North Slope with the Canning River and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to its left and the Canadian border to its right. The heart of the Refuge, the Coastal Plain, is nestled between the iconic Brooks Range and the Beaufort Sea. Thousands of bird species migrate through this biodiverse landscape where ancient muskoxen roam, polar bears den, and hundreds of thousands of Porcupine caribou return to calve their young each year. The Gwich’in people rely on the Porcupine caribou for their subsistence way of life and consider the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is “the sacred place where life begins”.
The effort to protect the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been ongoing for decades, but the last four years have been especially tumultuous. After four years of fast tracking environmental reviews and negating public comments from the American people, the Trump administration sold $14.4M worth of leases to three small companies hoping to strike oil on the Coastal Plain. This was a fraction of the $2B promised from the sale, and an indication that drilling in the Refuge is both an ethical and political gamble that no major bank is willing to take. Days later on his first day in office, President Biden issued an executive order placing a short term moratorium on oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The effort continues to permanently protect this landscape once and for all.