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Alaska State Chamber Call to Action: ANWR

Oppose further Designation of Wilderness area in ANWR

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Needs to Hear from you NOW!

President Obama announced a moratorium on Offshore Drilling that will delay the long awaited oil exploration by Shell Oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas for at least another year.  Add to that the planning efforts by the Department of Interior to consider adding the 1.5 million acre ANWR 1002 area of the arctic coastal plain to the 19 million acres of wilderness area presently there.  Some of you made comments at the public meetings in Anchorage and Fairbanks two weeks ago, and those comments were greatly appreciated.  Now is the time for all of you to comment directly to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Background
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it will develop a new Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the 19.5 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
The Service is seeking public comments regarding the refuge and its uses, management, and future.  Public meetings on the planning process are being held this spring in Alaska and in Washington, D.C.

In ANWR, 92 percent of the refuge is permanently closed to development.  However, 1.5 million acres of the refuge's western coastal plain, known as the "1002 area," were excluded from Wilderness designation under the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).  In 1987, after six years of environmental, geologic, and economic study required by ANILCA, the Department of the Interior recommended that the 1002 area be opened to responsible oil and gas development.  An act of Congress is required for the 1002 area to be opened, and in 1995, Congress voted to open the coastal plain to exploration.  Unfortunately, President Bill Clinton vetoed the measure.

The 1002 area on the coastal plain of ANWR, which accounts for only eight percent of the refuge, is estimated to contain upwards of 16 billion barrels of oil and 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.  Responsible development can and does occur in similar areas presently on the North Slope of Alaska.  Today, Americans overwhelmingly support new oil and gas exploration and development on our soil and ANWR development should be part of our energy equation.

As part of the update to ANWR's CCP, the Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct a review of the refuge lands to determine if additional acreage should be designated as federal Wilderness.  The Record of Decision from this planning process could recommend the designation of the 1.5 million-acre coastal plain as Wilderness, an action that would permanently close America's most promising onshore oil and gas prospect to future development.  Any proposed Wilderness designations would need to go before Congress for its approval.  RDC members must show their support for keeping this area open to future potential oil and gas exploration and development.

Comment Deadline is Monday, June 7, 2010

There are any number of ways for you to share your thoughts and comments with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Write your own personalized comment and submit directly by e-mail:

ArcticRefugeCCP@fws.gov

Submit your comments online at: http://arctic.fws.gov/ccp.htm

Use a prepared form letter opposing new wilderness (opens into a new window)

http://consumerenergyalliance.org/calls-to-action/protect-the-use-of-public-lands-access-to-americas-natural-resources/

Or write a letter to:

Sharon Seim, Planning Team Leader
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
101 12th Avenue, Room 236
Fairbanks, AK 99701

You can fax the letter to: 907-456-0428

Act today, and pass this on to others  www.alaskachamber.com

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