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Defend the Arctic Refuge from reckless oil drilling

Delivery to President Biden

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What’s At Stake

In its last month in office, the Trump administration sold and signed lease contracts for oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge, putting one of the Earth’s last fully intact ecosystems at the mercy of the oil industry. This attack wasn’t surprising — the Trump administration mandated a lease sale in its 2017 tax giveaway that sold out working people and the planet for the benefit of corporations and polluters — but it is unprecedented and poses a dire threat to the Arctic Refuge. Tell President Biden to work with his allies in Congress to protect the Refuge!

The coastal plain is the biological heart of the Refuge. It is where the 200,000 caribou of the Porcupine Herd birth and raise their young each year. The Gwich’in People, whose way of life and culture depend on the herd, consider the coastal plain sacred. It’s also home to polar bears, and birds from all 50 states gather there to breed every summer.

Even though we need Congress to undo the law, this isn’t going to get done without leadership from President Biden. Tell him to work with his allies in Congress to pass legislation protecting the Arctic Refuge by repealing Trump’s drilling mandate.

Fortunately, on his first day in office President Biden issued an executive order temporarily halting all activities in the Refuge intended to facilitate oil drilling. His action was a great and important step that buys us critical time to do what is needed to protect the Refuge.

The Arctic Refuge is already ground zero for climate change impacts and should not be sacrificed for oil extraction that will further exacerbate the climate crisis. Please join us in telling President Biden to fully support legislative action to repeal the 2017 drilling mandate and cancel the leases!

A field in the Arctic Refuge
Hillebrand / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.