[Episcopal Public Policy Network policy alert] This year, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge needs your support more than ever. The Refuge is a national treasure that stands alone in its wildness, ecological integrity, beauty, and unique recreational opportunities, and as an Episcopalian, you have a powerful voice in the effort to protect this incomparable landscape for future generations to enjoy.
Last year, religious leaders delivered a petition signed by over 110,000 people of faith to U.S. Congress, calling on members to offer the strongest possible protection to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Following up on this exciting action, members of Congress introduced bills in the House (H.R. 1889) and Senate (S. 820) this week that would permanently protect the Refuge’s Coastal Plain.
The Episcopal Church has long opposed drilling in the Refuge not only because of our concern for and stewardship of God’s creation, but also because of our commitment to standing with the Gwich’in Nation, the indigenous people who live in the Arctic who are mostly Episcopalians. The Gwich’in depend for their daily sustenance upon the Porcupine caribou herd, whose birthing patterns would be disrupted by oil exploration in the Refuge, ultimately threatening the survival of both the caribou and the Gwich’in Nation.