© Ken Madsen/WWF-Canada

In response to the Trump Administration releasing a Record of Decision that will allow for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain leasing program to move forward, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Margaret Williams, managing director, WWF-US Arctic Program.

Margaret Williams, managing director, WWF-US Arctic Program:

Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge poses an intolerable risk to one of our nation’s greatest natural treasures. The Refuge is one of the few places remaining in the world where wildlife has the freedom to roam, and communities’ ancient traditions are deeply rooted to the land and sea.

The administration has once again prioritized unsustainable development that will exacerbate climate change. It also has undercut the ability of this sensitive environment to support vast herds of caribou and the people who rely on them, as well as denning polar bears, musk-oxen, and birds from every state and continent.

Even the financial community and major institutions are showing leadership by refusing to fund development in the Arctic Refuge and we urge all to refrain from backing any project that threatens the communities and natural systems of America’s Arctic.

Jan Dusik, Lead Specialist, Sustainable Development, WWF Arctic Programme:

By sacrificing a large part of the Arctic Refuge, the US government is attempting to prop-up the oil and gas industry. Not only is this action irresponsible towards next generations, but the project also jeopardizes the chances of survival for unique Arctic species, such as polar bears and the Porcupine Caribou herd, for whom the Arctic Refuge is an indispensable habitat, and which are essential for many of Alaska's Indigenous peoples.

Extraction in this protected area equals economic nonsense and environmental disaster. We are counting on investors and companies to acknowledge the multiple risks and hope this will be remembered as an empty political proclamation.

For additional background and more information:

Michael Crispino | Communications Director, Oceans, WWF-US | michael.crispino@wwfus.org