Skip to main content

Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) reiterates its opposition to the Interior Department’s decision to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas leasing, the first step toward drilling in one of the last pieces of untouched land in the United States.

This decision makes 1.5 million acres of the refuge’s coastal plain available for leasing and potential development.

Contact: Tim McHugh, Friends Committee on National Legislation,; 202-903-2515

“This is not a decision based on energy needs or the ongoing threats of climate change. Indeed, the Arctic is already warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. Rather, this is a decision by the Trump administration to please oil and gas interests in an election year. Science is a secondary concern, if one at all,” said Amelia Kegan, FCNL’s legislative director of domestic policy. “Fossil fuels are not the energy choice of the future. We should not start the costly adventure of opening ANWR up as we shift to a clean energy economy and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”

Current polls indicate bipartisan support for protecting ANWR with roughly 67% opposed to drilling in the refuge.

“The refuge is home to polar bears, caribou, and other wildlife not found in other parts of the country. The impact of drilling in their native habitat seems to have played little if any role in the decision to move forward with leasing,” said Alicia Cannon, FCNL’s sustainable energy and environment program officer. “While possible oil-and-gas production is expected to be a decade or more away, earlier steps in the process must begin sooner if the leasing is to proceed.”

FCNL’s long-held opposition to the opening of ANWR to development comes from its Quaker calling that the sanctity of land, water, air, and all forms of indigenous land should be respected.

The Gwich’in people, who have lived in northeast Alaska and western Canada for millennia, have been at the forefront of efforts to protect ANWR from drilling for decades. The Gwich’in Steering Committee, formed in 1988 by Gwich’in activists, has testified in Congress and the UN about the dangers drilling would present to the people and animals who live in the Article National Wildlife Refuge.

To learn more, please visit

Tim McHugh

Timothy McHugh

Director of Media Relations
Tim leads organizational efforts to communicate about issues, victories, priorities, and updates through all available news channels – specifically the major media outlets.