Date: 10/4/17 6:41 am
From: Russ Oates (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Call your Senators TODAY regarding opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development
As promised in my Update #1 (September 22) to my August 23 "Important
conservation issues," I said I would contact you when it was time to call
your US senators on this issue. Below is my summary of the issue. The
*Status* section contains the contact numbers for the NC and SC senators.
The budget resolution that could open the Refuge for oil development will
be voted on this week (I don't know what day.) *PLEASE CALL THEM TODAY IF
POSSIBLE*

*Issue:* Opening the Coastal Plain (commonly referred to as the “1002 {ten
oh two} area”) of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil
exploration and development.

*Desired outcome:* PREVENT THE PROVISION THAT WOULD OPEN THE REFUGE FROM
BEING INSERTED INTO THE SENATE BUDGET RESOLUTION. Ultimately, we should
protect the entire Coastal Plain area of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
with wilderness designation.

*Status:* The Secretary of Interior has sent a memorandum the the Acting
Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service instructing him to rescind the
regulations prohibiting further oil exploration on the coastal plain of the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Acting Director, in turn, has
instructed the Alaska Regional Director to amend the regulations to allow
for the resumption of exploration. This is the first step in the process.
Congress will have to pass a law opening the Refuge to actual oil
development. *THIS COULD HAPPEN THIS WEEK! PLEASE CALL ASAP: *(NC: Thom
Tillis 202-224-6342 <%28202%29%20224-6342>, Richard Burr 202-224-3154
<%28202%29%20224-3154>, SC: Lindsay Graham 202-224-5972
<%28202%29%20224-5972>*, *Tim Scott 202-224-6121 <%28202%29%20224-6121>).

*Background:* (Key points in *bold* below) The coastal plain portion of
ANWR is approximately 1.5 million acres in size, and represents about 5% of
the coastal plain north of the Brooks Range. Most of the 95% not within
the Refuge is already open for oil exploration and development. Why would
it hurt to develop the coastal plain portion of the Refuge? The coastal
plain is *the* calving area for the 150,000-strong Porcupine Caribou Herd,
a herd that is key to the coastal plain ecosystem and a vitally important
subsistence resource for the Gwichin Athabascan Indians that live south of
the Brooks Range in Alaska and Yukon Territories (where this caribou herd
winters). The herd concentrates on the Arctic coastal plain during a mass
birthing in late June/early July, and the cows tend to their young and try
to protect them from a whole host of predators (brown bears, wolves,
wolverines, and Golden Eagles converge for this annual feast.) The caribou
are also an important subsistence resource (second to bowhead whales) for
the Inupiat Eskimos of the Alaska North Slope. Despite the deliberate
misrepresentations of the affected area (particularly by former Secretary
of Interior under George W. Bush) and research done on caribou response to
oil pipelines (by multiple pro-development administrations), a prominent
caribou researcher told me that *pregnant female caribou and females with
calves stay away from oil pipelines (based on work done in the Prudhoe Bay
area). A spider web of pipelines connecting production wells, and
associated structures and airfields, would likely cause the abandonment of
the calving area and have dire long-term consequences for the herd and
associated predator populations (not to mention the subsistence hunters).
The coastal plain is also an important migration area for Yellow-billed
Loons (Endangered Species Act Candidate Species) and nesting and migration
habitat for a host of different shorebird species (for example:
Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Black-bellied Plover, American Golden Plover,
Semipalmated Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper, Semi-palmated Sandpiper,
Long-billed Dowitcher, Stilt Sandpiper, Red and Red-necked Phalaropes,
Bar-tailed Godwit, and Baird’s Sandpiper.) The coastal plain is important
in some years for as many as 350,000 Lesser Snow Geese (that nested in a
western Canada colony) to fatten on sedge rhizomes before migrating south.
*
*Bottom line: Oil development on the coastal plain of the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge would be very detrimental to the calving area of the
Porcupine Caribou Herd. This herd is vital to the coastal plain ecosystem
and thus must be protected as mandated by the Refuge enacting legislation.*

Thank you for your help n this issue!

Russ Oates
Burnsville, NC
--
*Conserve wild things, protect wild places.*

 
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