Alaska contains all of America’s Arctic lands and waters. These Arctic ecosystems are both vibrant and delicate. During the summer months, the Arctic is a rich and productive habitat for breeding marine mammals, wildfowl and shorebirds, and for rearing young caribou calves. It also is the lifeblood of Alaska Natives who have depended year-round on these ecosystems for thousands of years. But the Arctic is also fragile. Slight disruptions, changes in weather, and human activities have significant impacts on the Arctic ecosystem, taking the land decades to recover.
The largest threats to Arctic ecosystems continue to be resource extraction and related infrastructure—oil and gas drilling, large-scale mining projects, and roads crisscrossing delicate ecosystems. Climate change and increased industrial development are placing unprecedented stress on the region. With shrinking sea ice, this pressure now extends from the lands to the water. Ships are already sailing into Arctic seas where no ports or emergency equipment is available to deal with oil spills or other catastrophes. The wilderness character of the Arctic is on the brink of changing forever. Trustees’ role as the legal counsel for the Arctic is essential to the protection of the people and the wildlife that depend on the region.
The U.S. District Court rules that oil and gas exploration is not allowed on the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The court’s decision shuts down the most recent attempt by the State of Alaska to open the Coastal Plain to damaging oil and gas activities.
Press Release: Court victory for wilderness in the Arctic Refuge
In June 2015 several Trustees for Alaska board members and donors traveled to the Aichilik River Valley in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
REVISED from 5/26 For Immediate Release: May 27, 2015 Contact: Brian Litmans, Senior Staff Attorney, Trustees for Alaska, (907) 433-2007 Nuiqsuit Subsistence…
U.S. District Court ruled against Nuiqsut subsistence users when it approved a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps pf Engineers for a Conoco Phillips’ oil and gas project near the community of Nuiqsut.