President Obama should declare ANWR a National Monument

The determination of the powerful oil lobby to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), “the country’s largest and most untamed refuge,” (source later) has bothered me for many, many years.  When you look at a list of our country’s NWRs, they’re really the last rugged, unspoiled places in the country.  For example, in Georgia, we have the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR).  Perhaps 8 years ago, I imagined how horrifying it would be if companies were allowed to bring equipment in to drill in ONWR, or otherwise disrupt the wilderness to recover some limited quantities of finite resources.

That’s why I’ve been determined to protect ANWR, which one day I’ll hopefully be lucky enough to see.  I don’t know if you realized this, but President Barack Obama has a unique opportunity to protect ANWR forever.  He could declare it a National Monument, which would make it impossible for companies to ever drill there.

Here is more information from today’s newspaper about the choice the President could make.  And here is a page with information on previous Presidents and the National Monuments they created.  The history of National Monuments dates back to Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, who was extremely committed to setting aside unspoiled public land for future generations.

It’s interesting that Alaska has a unique culture where oil exploration is encouraged, even by many of its citizens.  But that culture has had a devastating impact on some of Alaska’s land already.  Many reading this will remember the horrible Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster in Prince William Sound, AK.  And just a few years ago, in 2006, more than 200,000 gallons of oil were spilled in Prudhoe Bay, AK; that event was called “massive.”

As a National Wildlife Refuge, the ANWR land already belongs to all the people of this great country. It doesn’t belong just to the people of Alaska, and it certainly shouldn’t be controlled by any corporate interests.  It’s time that we urge the President to take further steps to ensure that this part of Alaska can never be ruined.

Please join more than 80 members of Congress, 170 scientists, 300 businesses and organizations, and 20+ religious organizations and write to the President about protecting ANWR.  I strongly believe the White House needs actual letters, not emails, on this critical issue.

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

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