The Bureau of Land Management recently issued a Record of Decision finalizing the agency’s reckless plan to lease the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the oil and gas industry. This destructive, unlawful plan would sell off one of America’s last great wildlands to the highest bidder, offering up almost the entire 1.5 million-acre coastal plain for fossil fuels development, including huge expanses of federally designated critical habitat essential to support denning for the threatened Southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) population of polar bears. The SBS population is the most imperiled polar bear population on the planet and has declined dramatically in recent years.
These polar bears are already suffering from the effects of climate change and fighting for their lives – and if oil development comes to the coastal plain, they’ll have nowhere to go.
And it's not just polar bears: if this wild landscape is industrialized, caribou, wolves, migratory birds and more will suffer from the constant deafening noise of machinery tearing apart this habitat, as well as the specter of toxic oil spills on land and at sea.