Rep. Huffman Tours Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Reaffirms Strong Opposition to Arctic Oil Drilling

August 19, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) released the following statement after returning from a trip to the Arctic Circle where he toured the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of America’s last untouched wild places. Huffman is the author of the bipartisan Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act, which would protect the Wildlife Refuge’s 1.5 million-acre Coastal Plain as wilderness, codifying into law permanent protections from damaging activities like oil drilling.

“I just completed a remarkable swing through Prudhoe Bay, where I learned firsthand what fossil fuel development north of the Arctic Circle really entails; followed by an amazing aerial tour of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and a camping trip in the Arctic Wilderness.

“This only reaffirmed my commitment to protect these unique wild places—some of the last places on earth untouched and unspoiled by roads, energy extraction, and other human development. From Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir, to Presidents Eisenhower and Carter, prior generations have understood that the Alaskan Arctic is a one-of-a-kind treasure that must be permanently preserved and protected.

“It's time for our generation to step up and do our part.

“I will keep fighting to pass my bipartisan bill to permanently protect the Arctic Refuge's Coastal Plain and other parts of the refuge as wilderness. The oil and gas in these areas should simply be left in the ground.”

Photos of Huffman’s tour can be found HERE.

In May, Huffman spoke out against the Obama Administration’s conditional approval for Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc. to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Yesterday, the Obama administration gave Shell final drilling approval. President Obama announced this week that he will visit Alaska from August 31 to September 1 to highlight the threat of climate change to Alaska.

This March, Huffman led a bipartisan congressional letter lending full support to a Wilderness designation for the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a 1.5 million-acre stretch of land that is home to endangered species and is one of the last great expanses of true “wildness” in the United States.

The Arctic Refuge and its Coastal Plain is home to polar bears, grizzly bears, wolves, wolverines, muskoxen, and more than 130 species of migratory birds.