Threatening Indigenous Rights and Arctic Ecosystem, Interior Launches Process to Open Refuge for Drilling


Washington, DC -- In a notice that will be officially posted to the Federal Register tomorrow, the Department of the Interior launched the process to hold a lease sale for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Last fall, Congressional Republicans slipped a rider into the budget opening up the Refuge for oil and gas drilling.

The sale will target the coastal plain, the biological heart of the Arctic Refuge and home to lands and wildlife vital for the subsistence way of life of the Gwich’in Nation.

In response, Alli Harvey, Alaska representative for Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign, released the following statement:

“Ryan Zinke and Donald Trump have consistently shown their total disregard for Indigenous rights and public wishes, so their rush to sell out the Arctic Refuge to oil interests is no surprise. This is a time to make a choice about what our country wants for our future -- the preservation of life, climate justice, and wild places for future generations, or a race to the bottom dominated by drilling and greed. We stand with the Gwich'in Nation as we fight for a better world, starting with safeguarding the Arctic Refuge.”


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit