Industry spin causes peril in the Arctic
The story of “Alaska” holds a lot of power over people. It conjures up images of harsh weather and environments—of people doing tough things and getting tougher doing them.
Extraction industries have coopted these stories by pushing a narrative of Alaska as a “resource extraction state,” as if marketing jargon can erase and ignore the sustainable economies that have allowed Alaskans to thrive for thousands of years.
Even the Western Arctic’s “legal” name—the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska—makes it sound as if exploitation is its inherent purpose.
These false narratives serve Outsiders and profit interests, not the long-term health of Alaska and our future.
Trump’s Alaska giveaway
The Trump administration wants to sell off Alaska’s Arctic to private industry to prop up its “energy dominance” propaganda. Thankfully, there are laws to protect public lands, not enable the hasty lining of pockets—and that’s why we took the Trump administration to court earlier this year.
Yet, this administration is rushing to hand over public lands in the Western Arctic to foreign-owned oil and gas companies as fast as it can, without regard to the law or the public.
It rushed through the environmental review process for the Greater Mooses Tooth-2 oil project, despite the enormous impact on Alaskans who live nearby and depend on that area for their way of life.
It is rushing through the environmental review process for the Willow project, despite the project’s scope and size. Learn how this project poses massive risks to birds and wildlife and how you can speak out about your concerns.
It is pushing to modify the Integrated Activity Plan for the Western Arctic with the expressed goal of promoting oil and gas development in areas currently protected because of their critical importance to wildlife and people.
And, it intends to continue a leasing process that gives away public lands without adequately looking at the environmental impacts.
BLM broke the law
This administration broke the law during the 2017 lease sale in the Western Arctic. We will present oral argument in court on Friday, September 21, 2018, to explain how the Bureau of Land Management failed to protect our public lands.
BLM did not look closely at the impacts to wildlife, recreation, or subsistence use of the specific lands it decided to lease. It did not consider the overwhelming volume of proposed developments in the Western Arctic and look at the cumulative effect of these activities on wildlife, habitat, and people.
Our lawsuit, filed on behalf of five client groups, aims to hold agencies accountable for failing to take steps to protect fish, wildlife, habitat, and multiple human activities in the Western Arctic.
BLM knew that oil and gas developments were already causing serious impacts before the 2017 lease sale, yet it went ahead and gave away more of our public lands anyway.
That’s not oversight, it’s a free-for-all.
Take action now
The Bureau of Land Management is currently accepting public comments on the Willow project. It extended the deadline to September 20th. You can submit comments by email BLM_AK_Willow_Comments@blm.gov or mail, Attn: Willow MDP/EIS; 222 W. Seventh Ave., Stop #13; Anchorage, AK 99513-7504.
Trustees and other groups will keep you informed of other public comment periods in the weeks and months to come.