Letter: Protect the Arctic

Published: 3/17/2021 7:43:28 PM

While the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge lies thousands of miles from Hanover, Dartmouth students remain committed to the nation’s high-latitude lands. We do have the Still North in our hearts, after all. That’s why we’re proud to see our own Sen. Jeanne Shaheen co-sponsor S.2461, the Arctic Refuge Protection Act.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a national treasure and is owned by all Americans. It is home to the Porcupine caribou herd, polar bears, musk oxen and gray wolves. Birds that migrate from Arctic refuge to all 50 states – like the dunlin in New Hampshire – use the refuge’s coastal plain. The refuge is also the homeland to the Gwich’in who have profound ties to the 19.6 million acres of rich land.

On Jan. 20, President Biden placed a moratorium on refuge oil and gas leases, a crucial step to protecting the refuge. In the waning days of his administration, President Trump sold off several leases – albeit fetching a price only two-thirds of the originally-boasted numbers. These lands, which the Gwich’in people refer to as “the sacred place where life begins,” were sold off for a meager $25 an acre.

Drilling in the Arctic would be devastating for Indigenous people, plant communities and wildlife populations.

We are among this majority of Americans who hope to see federal wildlands and the species that inhabit them preserved for future generations.

Soleil Gaylord and Nicholas Mancini


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