Senate bill would protect the Arctic Refuge coastal plain as wilderness

Listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, polar bears give birth to their cubs in dens on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is under a major threat from the oil industry’s allies in Congress. But a historic number of senators have taken an important step to protect it.

On April 4, a total of 40 senators sponsored a bill that would designate the refuge’s fragile coastal plain as a wilderness area. Such a designation would permanently protect refuge from the oil drilling proposals introduced year after year in Congress.

The effort was led by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) In all, the bill was introduced with the sponsorship of 40 senators. That’s a record level of Senate support for legislation to protect the Arctic Refuge.

Are your senators Arctic Refuge champions? Find out and send them a thank you message.


Musk oxen are among the many things that make the Arctic Refuge unique.

If one or more of your senators are not among the sponsors of this bill, please urge them to oppose any executive or congressional action that would open the refuge to drilling, and the resulting oil spills, air pollution and contaminated water that come with such risky industrial activity.

The coastal plain is the biological heart of the Arctic Refuge. It provides denning habitat for endangered polar bears, and is the calving ground of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. It is also the home of wolves, grizzly bears, Dall sheep and migratory birds that travel to six continents and all 50 states.

The Arctic Refuge has value far beyond the oil beneath it. We have a moral obligation to protect the it for our children and grandchildren.

Is your senator on the list? Applause to these Arctic Refuge wilderness bill sponsors!

CA — Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Kamala Harris

CO — Sen. Michael Bennet

CT — Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Sen. Chris Murphy

DE — Sen. Tom Carper

FL — Sen. Bill Nelson

HI — Sen. Mazie Hirono

IL — Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Tammy Duckworth

MA — Sen. Ed Markey and Sen. Elizabeth Warren

MD — Sen. Christopher Van Hollen and Sen. Ben Cardin

MI — Sen. Gary Peters and Sen. Debbie Stabenow

MO — Sen. Claire McCaskill

MN — Sen. Al Franken and Sen. Amy Klobuchar

MT — Sen. Jon Tester

NV — Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto

NH — Sen. Maggie Hassan and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

NJ — Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Bob Menendez

NM — Sen. Tom Udall and Sen. Martin Heinrich

NY — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

NY — Sen. Chuck Schumer

OH — Sen. Sherrod Brown

OR — Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Jeff Merkley

PA — Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

RI — Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Sen. Jack Reed

VT — Sen. Patrick Leahy and Sen. Bernie Sanders

WA — Sen. Marie Cantwell and Sen. Patty Murray

WI — Sen. Tammy Baldwin