Canadians have made their voices clear: There is no place for oil and gas extraction in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

OTTAWA (Tuesday, June 19, 2018) — The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Yukon Chapter (CPAWS Yukon) and Nature Canada together are making sure the U.S. Government knows there is no place for oil and gas extraction in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Today is the final day of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s public scoping period in advance of its environmental review of oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge. More than 12,000 Canadians have submitted comments and signatures to the U.S. Government, urging the cross-border impacts of oil and gas drilling be addressed.

Every spring the longest land mammal migration on Earth takes place as the Porcupine caribou herd crosses the Yukon and Northwest Territories to give birth in the Arctic Refuge. The Trump administration’s push for oil and gas extraction would strike the heart of these calving grounds, which could have disastrous impacts on the health of the herd and on the Gwich’in communities that rely on caribou for their culture and livelihood.


Dana Tizya-Tramm, Councilor, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation: “From a people that understands resources extremely well by living in the unforgiven environments and climates of the Arctic North, we see the unilateral development of the wellspring of Arctic ecosystems as a significant threat to indigenous peoples, the lands, animals, and our collective futures. It must be known to produce oil and gas from this area can only be done so by manipulating environmental law and trampling human, and indigenous rights.”

Brook Brisson, Senior Staff Attorney at Trustees for Alaska: “Protecting the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is of international importance. The Porcupine caribou herd migrates through Canada to return to the coastal plain in Alaska to calve and replenish themselves each year. Borders do not mean anything to their survival, but habitat and protected ecosystems do. American laws recognize the international importance of the wildlife in this region, and international agreements give Canadians an important voice in this process. We will ensure that the laws and agreements within and between our countries are upheld.”

Chris Rider, Executive Director of CPAWS Yukon : “The impacts from oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge would not stop at the U.S. – Canada border. Drilling in the Porcupine caribou herd’s calving grounds could have devastating impacts across Alaska, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. It’s critical that Canadian’s stand with the Gwich’in and say no to drilling in the Arctic Refuge.”

Graham Saul, Executive Director of Nature Canada: “It is critical we work alongside CPAWS Yukon and the Vuntut Gwitchin to ensure Canadian voices are included in this environmental review. Today’s submission of 12,000 Canadian signatures and comments is an incredible opportunity for Canadians to speak directly to the U.S. government about the serious and irreversible impact oil and gas development would have on one of the last, healthy barren-ground caribou herds on earth. It is Nature Canada’s mission to protect our wildlife areas and countless species that depend on this habitat. We have been doing this for more than 75 years and have helped protect more than 63 million acres of wildlife areas.

Arctic Refuge Background

The Arctic Refuge is home over 200 species of birds, which migrate to six continents and every state in the United States. The Arctic Refuge provides important habitat for polar bears, grizzly bears, wolves and wolverines. It was established by President Eisenhower in 1960 and expanded by President Carter in 1980. In 2017, a provision included in President Trump’s tax overhaul opened parts of the Refuge’s Coastal Plain to oil and gas development.

High-quality images of the Arctic Refuge available for media use:       

For comment please contact:

Dana Tizya-Tramm
Councilor, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation
(867) 333-4335 (cell)

Adil Darvesh
867-393-8080 x 9

Janet Weichel McKenzie
Nature Canada
(613) 808-4642 (cell)