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Protect the Western Arctic

Delivery to Sec. Haaland, Department of the Interior

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What’s At Stake

Your actions continue to create change. The Bureau of Land Management — an agency that oversees a significant portion of our public lands — just finished a comment period on ConocoPhillips' Willow project, a disastrous plan to drill in the Western Arctic. More than 20,000 Earthjustice supporters provided input, and it’s crucial we keep that momentum going. Tell President Biden that the Western Arctic drilling project cannot move forward.

This project is still a disaster for the climate. It is the largest single oil and gas drilling operation currently proposed on federal lands and could generate more carbon than 56 million cars emit in a year. Beyond the damage to our climate, ConocoPhillips’ plan calls for 37 miles of new gravel roads, seven bridges, an airstrip, and a gravel mine, which would jeopardize the health and traditional practices of nearby Alaska Native communities and devastate local wildlife like polar bears, migratory birds, and caribou.

We need to fight hard. Although the administration plans to reverse some of Trump’s damage in the region by reverting to an Obama-era management plan, that won’t be enough to prevent this massive drilling project from moving forward. The Biden administration’s actions elsewhere in the country have left us with little confidence it’ll do the right thing on its own. Just in the last few months, the administration attempted a massive lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, refused to implement a moratorium on coal leases, and continues to let oil flow through the Line 3 and Dakota Access Pipelines. If we don’t continue to voice our opposition, greenlighting ConocoPhillips’ massive Arctic oil drilling plan could join that list of harmful decisions.

We’re not going to back down, and we know you won’t either. Join us in calling on President Biden to fight the climate crisis by saying no to this disastrous drilling project.

Caribou in the Western Arctic.
Kiliii Yüyan for Earthjustice

Caribou in the Western Arctic.

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.