Action Still Needed for Arctic Refuge

As Congress shakes its sleepy head and returns to work following spring break, the females of the Porcupine Caribou Herd -- many of them on the verge of giving birth -- are making their way on a perilous journey over flooding rivers and thawing tundra to the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge. Scientists say they have been making this journey for at least 10,000 years.

Why this place? Why do millions of birds -- from eider ducks to snow geese and piping plovers -- also return to the Coastal Plain, year after year, to nest and raise their young?

Scientists explain that this is the best environment for these animals. But I think there's another reason, the same reason that giant sea turtles and salmon return to the places where they were hatched to lay their own eggs; the same reason many of us find a way to attend family reunions large and small no matter the season. It is simply home.

We've created a slideshow of the Arctic Refuge -- a short overview of what you might see now and in coming days on the Coastal Plain. Have a look and then be sure to take action once more:

Because no matter what the Oil Industry and its allies in Congress think, there should be no oil rigs in this treasured place. Despite underhanded attempts to sneak this controversial provision into the budget process, we're optimistic that Congress will listen to the American people who overwhelmingly favor protection for this unparalleled place.

Next Up: Politics

The House has not yet selected its delegates to the budget conference committee, although the Senate has appointed its conferees (Click here for a list):

Nevertheless, preliminary meetings are taking place, so this is an ideal time for all conservation-minded Congressmen and Senators to let their leaders know that Arctic drilling has no place in the budget resolution.

Soon the conference committee will thrash over the different versions of the Budget Resolution and then bring their negotiated final to both floors for a vote. That could happen as early as this week.

Even if you've taken action many times before on this issue, we need you to raise your voice again. Please take action now:

Make no mistake. A vote for a budget resolution that includes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, is a vote for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. No exceptions, no excuses.

Members of Congress who have voted to protect the Arctic Wildlife Refuge in the past are under tremendous pressure from the White House and others to vote to pass the final budget resolution. However, they should bear in mind that voting for any resolution that includes Arctic drilling would be seen by their constituents -- you -- as fundamentally reversing their stance on drilling in the Arctic Refuge. You can deliver that message to them, right now, from

Most of us will never get to visit the Arctic Refuge and see the amazing wildlife spectacle that takes place there in the spring and summer. I hope that, for you, it's enough to know it's there and will continue on its grand cycle of birth, life and death for eons more, because of your efforts.

Thank you for all you do as a part of the WildAlert community.

Most sincerely,

Kathy Kilmer
The Wilderness Society


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April 2005

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