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Save America’s Arctic

Earth Alert #2
May 1999

Take Personal and Political action to reach the goals of Earth Day.

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The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of America’s last unspoiled places. It remains untouched by roads, development or trails. Four companies, British Petroleum, ARCO, Exxon, and Chevron, want to open the Refuge’s coastal plain for oil and gas drilling and development. The coastal plain’s 1.5 million acres are the biological heart of the Refuge. It’s also the only area along Alaska’s entire North Slope not open for oil and gas drilling. Some important facts:

The Refuge is a national treasure. The Refuge is the largest polar bear denning area in the United States. Polar bears are very sensitive human activity. If disturbed, females often abandon their dens, leaving cubs to die.

Old Drilling is very dirty. Big oil companies have already ruined the once pristine Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, the area to the west of the Refuge, where development has permanently altered at least 400 square miles of formerly pristine wilderness. Oil drilling in Alaska’s arctic in 1995 alone resulted in approximately 500 spills involving more than 80,000 gallons of oil, diesel fuel, and other materials. That’s one spill every 18 hours.

Personal Action

Use Your Car Less/More Efficiently

The need for oil is largely driven by our reliance on the automobile. Our cars use more gasoline each year than the entire US oil industry produces. According to government agencies, traffic congestion wastes about 4 billion gallons of gas per year- a lifetime supply of gasoline for an estimated 600,000 cars and enough to create significant pressure to drill for oil in sensitive places like the Arctic. The easiest things you can do to reduce the amount of gasoline you use are:

Keep your car tuned up. It’s the easiest way to go the same distance on less gas. A well-tuned car uses up to 9% less gasoline.

Keep your tires inflated. American waste up to 2 billion gallons of gasoline each year because of under-inflated tires.

When you shop for a new car, look for a high CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) Standards indicating that the car gets a lot of miles out of each gallon of gas burned. If America’s light trucks achieved the same average fuel economy as automobiles, oil consumption would be reduced by 336 million barrels per year, almost one million barrels per day.

Stay out of your car altogether. Walk, ride your bike, or take mass transit, even if you do it just every once in awhile.

Write the oil companies

Write the heads of the four companies that want to drill in the refuge and urge them to abandon their plans for drilling. The US Geological Survey estimates that oil found in the Arctic Refuge would meet the petroleum needs of the US for only 4-6 months. Ask these companies to become leaders in the fight to save the Arctic by agreeing not to drill and to support the Arctic Refuge Wilderness Bill in the US Congress which would designate the coastal plain as protected wilderness. Tell them that drilling is too dirty and dangerous for an area as pristine and unique as the Arctic.

Sample Letter


Dear _________,

It is too dirty and dangerous to drill for oil in an area as pristine and unique as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I urge (BP/ARCO/Exxon/Chevron) to voluntarily cancel its oil exploration and drilling plans for the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Drilling in the Arctic would pollute and industrialize one of the last pristine areas left in the United States. The Refuge supports a large polpulation of caribou, musk ox, bear, wolves, snow geese, and thousands of other migratory birds. The 152,000 member Porcupine River caribou herd migrates to the Refuge each year to calve. The Department of Interior warns that drilling in the Refuge could harm up to 40% of the caribou herd.

It doesn’t make sense to ruin an area as unique and beautiful as the Arctic Refuge for a few months worth of oil. I urge you to cancel your drilling plans and endorse the Arctic Refuge Wilderness Bill.






Oil Corporation Addresses:

British Petroleum - Sir John Browne
The British Petroleum Company, p.l.c.
Britannic House 1, Finsbury Circus
London, EC2M 7BA
ARCO - Mr. Mark R. Bowlin, CEO
515 South Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071-2256
Mr. Ken Derr, CEO
575 Market Street
San Francosco, CA 94105-2856

Exxon - Mr. Lee Raymond
Chairman of the Board
5959 Las Colins Blvd.
Irving TX 75039

email us at earthday2000@juno.com


march 2000

©1999 Earth Day 2000