A Lot to Lose: Images from the Vulnerable Arctic Refuge
Your government is looking to destroy one of America’s most magnificent open spaces—the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And it’s hoping to get started by year end. Chasing after the illusion of oil wealth, Trump’s Interior Department is aiming to auction off the heart of the Refuge to the highest bidder. Industry apologists who’ve slithered into Interior would have you think that pillaging the Refuge can be done in a “responsible” way.
The truth is, the Arctic Refuge encloses some of the most beautiful and pristine landscapes and wildlife in this, or any, country. And “environmentally responsible” oil drilling is modern-day snake oil.
I recently returned from a life-changing ten-day journey down the Canning River, from the Brooks Range to the Arctic Ocean. I can attest that the value of the Arctic Refuge is truly ineffable.
I watched as icebergs floated through the golden midnight of the Arctic Coast.
I gazed in awe as muskoxen ambled past camp, eyeing my group warily.
I sat on a ridge at noon on a cloudless day while a mother brown bear and her cub ambled through the valley below.
I hiked in the early morning through wildflowers that stretched into the horizon.
This vibrant ecosystem would be irreparably shattered by Interior’s infernal machines, but you won’t hear a whisper of worry from this Administration. Interior’s draft environmental impact statement, in which the agency is supposed to honestly and thoroughly lay out the impacts of the oil and gas leasing program, is laughably half-baked. It is rife with inaccuracies, omissions, and elisions—as our comments on the draft explain. I do not expect the final impact statement to be an improvement. This administration is racing to destroy the Arctic Refuge, and it is not going to let a pesky thing like legal obligations stop it.
You wouldn’t know it from the Administration’s propaganda, but the Arctic Refuge is a living place that follows its own biological rhythms. It is a place that America can’t afford to lose.