Senators and Conservations Groups Push for Protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Reader Contribution by Brenna Long
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Nearing the 50th Anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on Dec. 6, eight conservations groups and 25 senators sent a letter calling on President Obama today to protect the wildlife area.

The conservation groups are asking President Obama to declare the Arctic Refuge a national monument. If the Arctic Refuge is named a national monument, it would reach the status of the Grand Canyon, Muir Woods and Yellowstone.

In a press release the groups say, “In this historic year, groups are optimistic that President Obama will honor this bipartisan conservation legacy by granting this iconic wild place the strong, long-term protection it deserves.” The groups involved in the letter are Alaska Wilderness League, Defenders of Wildlife, Environment America, Friends of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges, League of Conservation Voters, National Audubon Society, Republicans for Environmental Protection and Sierra Club.

Making the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a national monument will support the majority of Americans who say it should be of monumental status and will help support protection of the Arctic Refuge for the next generation.

The senators are calling for the strongest protections for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. According to the senators in the press release, “The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is truly one of America’s greatest wild places.” The Refuge’s Costal Plain is home to polar bears, grizzly bears and more than a hundred thousand caribou. The Coastal Plain is also connected to the rest of the world through birds that migrate to all the continents and return to the Arctic.

This push for protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge happens just as the U.S. Congress faces legislation to drill the refuge for oil.

Photo by the Alaska Wilderness League.