Princess Lucaj: Gwich'in Nation opposes ANWR development

Princess Lucaj, the executive director of the Gwich'in Steering Committee, discusses why drilling should not be allowed in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge:
Since time immemorial the Gwich'in Nation has been reliant upon the Porcupine Caribou Herd whose birthing and calving grounds are on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In the Gwich'in language this place is referred to as "Iizhik Gwat'san Gwandaii Goodlit" or "The Sacred Place Where Life Begins."

Currently, the herd's population is close to 179,000 and every summer up to 40,000 calves are born on the coastal plain of the refuge. That is a significant number of animals and there are many special reasons why for thousands of years the Porcupine caribou have chosen to return to the coastal plain to give birth and nurse their young. The coastal plain, nestled between the Arctic Ocean to the North and the Brooks Range to the south, provides shelter from predators, relief from insects, and the tundra provides the nutrient rich plants that the caribou must have in order to nurse their young and survive the harsh winters of the Arctic.

Some of you may know this area as the 1002 area (a reference to the management area of ANILCA) and the location where Gov. Parnell would like to do exploratory and seismic drilling. However, his plan is not legal and does not make sense. It proposes to conduct activities that are not allowed under ANILCA. Additionally, at a time when our communities are facing flooding, wildfires, and soil erosion, you would think there are greater priorities for such public funding. In a recent Compass on these pages, Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan on the one hand proposes we use local food sources while on the other threatens to deprive us of our own local and main food source.

Get the Story:
Princess Lucaj: Protect caribou, oppose drilling in ANWR's coastal plain (The Anchorage Daily News 8/1)

Another Opinion:
Editorial: Worthy question: State’s ANWR request deserves full hearing (The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 7/3)

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