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Natural Awakenings

10 More Years: Victory Protects Arctic Breeding Ground

Nov 01, 2008 09:12PM

Teshekpuk Lake

Grassroots and courtroom pressures by several environmental groups have finally convinced the Bush administration to postpone oil and gas leasing in most of the Teshekpuk Lake area of Alaska’s Western Arctic Reserve for a decade. More than 200,000 citizen comments joined warnings from biologists and wildlife managers calling for preservation of this pristine breeding ground for migratory birds and caribou. The next push will be for legislation to permanently protect this world-class wildlife habitat.

“This long-awaited reversal is a milestone in our campaign to block Big Oil from destroying one of the most important tundra wetland systems on the planet,” says Chuck Clusen, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Alaska Project. The group reports that the oil industry already has drilling rights to 87 percent of the northeastern portion of the reserve.

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