President takes important climate step in Alaska
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama announced a Department of the Interior plan to protect Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in a video released yesterday. Outlining the plan, the president also asked Congress to provide further protection from development activities by designating the area as wilderness. The oil and gas industry has long sought access to drill on the refuge’s 1.5 million acres of coastal plain, which is home to indigenous peoples and great wildlife diversity.
Friends of the Earth Climate campaigner, Marissa Knodel, issued the following statement in response:
President Obama demonstrated his will to take bold, meaningful actions to protect our public areas from fossil fuel development and leave a safer, healthier environment for future generations. Last December, he issued a Presidential Memorandum that permanently protects Alaska’s Bristol Bay from oil and gas development. Protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is another major victory for the people and wildlife that depend on the health and vitality of this ecosystem.
President Obama’s choice to exercise executive authority to protect some of our most beautiful and important public lands and waters makes a symbolic difference to the climate fight. But his climate legacy will depend on wielding that authority to restrict fossil fuel companies’ access to all the lands and waters that belong to the American public.