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Defend the Arctic Refuge from reckless oil drilling

Delivery to U.S. Congress

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What’s At Stake

During its last few months in power, the Trump administration accelerated its multiyear effort to let oil companies destroy our country’s sacred places. In December, the Trump administration solicited the oil industry’s input about which lands in the Arctic Refuge should be leased for destructive fossil fuel extraction. The Trump administration rushed this lease sale through in an attempt to make it more difficult for the Biden administration to protect the Refuge. Tell your member of Congress to fight to protect the Arctic Refuge!

The Arctic Refuge is one of the last fully intact ecosystems in North America. The land is sacred to the Gwich’in people, who have been stewarding the region and vigorously oppose selling off the Refuge to the oil industry for extraction and destruction. The oil industry’s gain cannot come close to matching the cultural and ecological value of an intact and healthy ecosystem.

The Trump administration’s rush to lease the Arctic Refuge for fossil fuel extraction was shortsighted and took us backwards in the fight to address climate change. The Arctic climate is rapidly warming, banks are refusing to finance drilling in the Arctic, and the American people overwhelmingly elected a President who ran on a platform that included permanently protecting the Arctic Refuge and phasing out fossil fuel extraction on public lands. Yet, the Trump administration did its best to tie up protection efforts with midnight leases aimed at keeping the Refuge in jeopardy for years to come.

We have less than a decade to dramatically cut our greenhouse gas emissions if we hope to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Destroying one of our few intact ecosystems for the sake of oil profits and increased emissions is not something we can do if we want this planet to remain inhabitable. Please join us in urging your member of Congress to protect Arctic Refuge.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
U.S. Fish & 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.