Friday, December 16, 2005

House and Senate to Debate Drilling in ANWR: We have learned that pro-drilling Senators have now inserted their Arctic drilling measure into the Defense Appropriations bill. A vote on the measure may come as early as 12/17/05.

For a related news story on this issue see: Arctic Drilling Paired With Military Spending Equals Conflict published in the LA Times 12/16/05.

Please read an alert published on 12/16 below by the National Resourrces Defense Council.

Dear NRDC Action Fund Supporter,

It's the most outrageous scheme yet to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. We have just learned that pro-drilling Senators are sneaking their Arctic drilling measure into the Defense Appropriations bill. The vote on the Senate floor could come as early as tomorrow!

Call your two Senators right now at the phone numbers below and tell them to get Arctic drilling out of the Defense bill, with a filibuster if necessary. Call them even if it's Friday night or Saturday.

Here's the good news: thanks to a nationwide outcry from millions of Americans, including you, House and Senate leaders have given up on including Arctic drilling in the Budget Reconciliation bill. But some Senators are so shameless in their quest to boost oil company profits that they're willing to exploit the Defense Appropriations bill, which is meant to fund our troops in Iraq and other military needs. Your Senators will be under enormous political pressure to vote Yes on the Defense Appropriations bill no matter what's in it. We're counting on a last- ditch effort by a determined group of senators to filibuster this bill until Arctic drilling is removed. In that case, the oil industry and their rallies would have to get over 60 votes to keep drilling in -- something they have never been able to do.

Call your Senators right away and tell them you're outraged that Arctic drilling would be snuck into a bill that is meant to protect our troops. Urge them to get Arctic drilling out of the Defense bill, with a filibuster if necessary. And tell them you will publicly support their No vote if they come under attack for it in your state. The next 24 hours are critical. Call your Senators right now!


John H. Adams
NRDC Action Fund

NARF's Envolvement

In Alaska, NARF assists the Gwichin Steering Committee in their efforts to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) from oil development. The Gwichin, which means People of the Caribou, are the northernmost Indian nation living across northeast Alaska and northwest Canada. There are about 7,000 Gwichin people who live on or near the migratory route of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. For thousands of years, the Gwichin have relied on the caribou for food, clothing, tools, and a source of respect and spiritual guidance. The calving grounds of the Porcupine River caribou herd inside ANWR is considered sacred. The Gwichin call it "Vadzaih googii vi dehkit gwanlii" (The Sacred Place Where Life Begins). The Gwichin will not journey into these sacred grounds for hunting, even in times of great need or food shortage. Oil development in ANWR would not only harm the caribou and threaten the future of the Gwichin people, but would also threaten more than 180 species of birds, and numerous mammals including polar bears, musk ox, wolves, wolverine, moose, Arctic and red foxes, black bears, brown bears, and the white Dall sheep. NARF successfully worked with a coalition of environmental groups and organizations to stop the U.S. Senate from approving oil drilling in ANWR in 2001 and 2002. Language was again introduced in the 2003 Congress to allow for oil drilling in ANWR and was once again defeated in 2004. As the Administration has vowed to continue to press for the passage of this bill, NARF will continue to assist the Gwichin Steering Committee in their efforts to stop the approval of oil development in ANWR.

NARF has sent out an e-action asking those people concerned with protecting these pristine lands to call their congressional delegation to vote to stop any drilling in ANWR.