We need the strongest possible protections for the Arctic


Supporters spoke up in this action

Delivery to Bureau of Land Management

Action ended on December 16, 2023

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action! We’re grateful for your support.

What Was At Stake

The Biden administration proposed stronger protections for the Western Arctic Reserve, the public land where the Willow project is planned, helping to safeguard 13 million acres of ecologically significant public lands against harm from oil and gas drilling. Help us push the administration to protect the region.

While these new Western Arctic protections are a welcome and hopeful step forward, they still don’t go far enough. The door is still open to the Willow Project and other developments in the Western Arctic Reserve that could extract billions of barrels of oil in the coming years. Companies such as ConocoPhillips still hold leases on more than 2 million acres across this region, and millions more acres remain open to potential future oil and gas leasing in the future.

If this administration is serious about fighting climate change, it must take action to limit new fossil-fuel development in the areas of the Reserve that have already been auctioned off to the fossil-fuel industry. This should begin with a climate analysis to get a realistic measure of how extracting and burning this Arctic oil would worsen the climate crisis, as a first step toward aligning management of the Reserve with federal commitments to slash greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2030. 

Now’s your chance to weigh in. The administration has opened a comment period and it’s important that it hears from you about the urgency to develop robust measures to protect the Reserve from future Willow projects.

The stakes for these actions are high. The Arctic represents a critical last refuge for wildlife and provides sustenance and spiritual connection for Indigenous people. Fossil fuel development in this irreplaceable ecosystem spoils habitat, risks oil spills, and unleashes even more climate-wrecking emissions. Earthjustice has advocated for decades in courts and Congress to protect these lands – and, with your help, we’re going to see this fight through until the Arctic is no longer under threat. 

Send a message to the Biden administration thanking them for the progress toward protecting the Arctic and urge them to consider the strongest possible protections for this region. 

A field in the Arctic Refuge
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Hillebrand / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Your Actions Matter

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

You level the playing field.

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

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.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. 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. Read more.

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. Read more.

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 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.