[Episcopal Public Policy Network] Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives will debate H.R. 7, the transportation reauthorization bill, which has attached to it H.R. 3407, the “Alaska Energy for America Jobs Act,” a bill that seeks to open the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling. House leadership is pushing this proposal as an attempt to pay for a $75 billion gap in the transportation reauthorization bill with speculative revenues from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. While we believe that Congress must make needed investments in the nation’s transportation infrastructure, we do not believe that we should endanger our environment by sacrificing national treasures such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to do so. We oppose the use of the transportation reauthorization process as a “back-door” effort to get around consistent congressional opposition to drilling.
The Arctic Refuge is unique among Refuges – it was the only one established specifically to preserve wilderness values. The Refuge’s coastal plain is a vital part of a larger ecosystem and connected to existing wilderness through its scenic landscapes, watersheds, rivers, migrations, and broader ecosystem.
The Episcopal Church has long opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge not only because of our concern for and stewardship of God’s creation, but because of our commitment to standing with the Gwich’in Nation, which represents one of the only native Anglican nations in the world. At its 70th General Convention, the Episcopal Church called on the Church to protect the sanctity of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska by opposing the opening of this refuge for oil development.
Urge your representative to preserve the manifest beauty and dynamic ecosystem of the Arctic Refuge and oppose any provision which opens the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling.
H.R. 3407, Alaska Energy for Americans Jobs Act
H.R. 3407 would direct the secretary of the Interior to establish and implement a competitive oil and gas leasing program for the exploration, development and production of the oil and gas resources of the Coastal Plain of Alaska, to increase energy supplies for the continental Pacific Coast of the United States and to extract revenue from leasing and drilling. This bill has been attached to H.R. 7, the Transportation Reauthorization Bill, pitting the need for funding for transportation projects against the need to preserve one of the richest ecosystems in the world.