The fight continues for wildlife on Alaska national wildlife refuges.
Last week brought devastating news for wildlife in Alaska. Despite our best efforts and a great outpouring of support and advocacy from many Defenders across the country, the Senate voted in favor of H.J. Res. 69, adding its approval to the bill that overturns the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule.
With the Senate’s approval, the legislation proceeded to the president and there is little hope for a veto. We will have to move forward without the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule.
The Fight for Public Lands and Wildlife Continues
The revocation of the Alaska Refuges Rule could have dire consequences for some of our nation’s most iconic wildlife. The state of Alaska could attempt to apply its unscientific predator control policy on federal refuges, authorizing extreme practices including killing mother bears with cubs, killing wolves with pups during denning season, and baiting, snaring and scouting bears from the air for hunting. All of this could occur on public lands that belong to all of us.
Undeterred, Defenders remains committed to protecting bears, wolves and other carnivores in Alaska. We are prepared to engage in the public decision-making processes required prior to any potential application of the state’s egregious predator control policy on national wildlife refuges in Alaska, and will take the fight to court, if necessary. Together, we will be the voice for species that could be harmed by this misguided program and we will do everything in our power to stop future attacks on our public lands and wildlife.
In addition to opening the door for Alaska’s nefarious predator control program, H.J. Res. 69 also challenges the way national wildlife refuges are traditionally managed. As Defenders’ president and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark so precisely put it, “[H.J. Res. 69] is a disturbing abdication of federal authority over public lands and resources owned by all Americans.” It could therefore, encourage further efforts by Congress and special interest groups to sell off and sell out our public lands and resources across the country.
More of Alaska’s Pristine Landscape and Imperiled Wildlife in Danger
Congress’ next target is likely to be the iconic Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the crown jewel of the National Wildlife Refuge System, home to imperiled polar bears, the Porcupine caribou herd and millions of migratory birds.
The long-standing debate about whether to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge may get new legs in a political climate that favors exploitation over preservation of our natural resources. With renewed momentum in a Congress friendly to the oil industry and buoyed by an administration focused on increasing resource extraction on public lands, the atmosphere is ominously set for the next fight to protect one of the last great landscapes in America.
Tell Your Congressperson You are Paying Attention
We cannot let Congress’ failure to act on the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule lead to a lack of action to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We must hold our lawmakers accountable by reminding them of their failure to protect bears, wolves and other carnivores in Alaska, so they know we will not let up in the fight to defend our public lands and wildlife.
Sign up now to receive Defenders Action Alerts and learn how you can hold your Senators accountable for revoking the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule. You will also be notified about future actions and petitions you can join to make a difference for wildlife and wild places.
And as Congress sets its sights on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we at Defenders will do what we do best: work with you to keep up the fight, no matter what.