REP opposes seismic exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

This is a current statement of opposition, dated November 5, 2020


REP opposes seismic testing in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Sarah LaMarr
Arctic DO
Bureau of Land Management

Dear Ms. LaMarr:

In August of 2004, I and two of my colleagues from Republicans for Environmental Protection traveled together to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

We flew from Anchorage to Gwich’in Village and then on to the Refuge on a tiny “Coyote Air” 4-seater. Our experienced pilot carried us low through the spectacular Brooks Range over the Canning River and set us down on the tundra. From there, for a week, we rafted north on the Canning through the coastal plain, hiking and camping along the way.

On the coastal plain, we saw immense herds of caribou… males with massive racks of antlers and females with their young grazing along the river. Golden eagles soared overhead. Nesting songbirds and a wide variety of small mammals occupied the tundra, which bloomed with fireweed and cotton flower and other plants that I’d never seen before. It was the most peaceful, unspoiled place I have ever visited.

There have been similar threats before to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but they’ve never been carried out, because the American people do not support such attempts to trash their finest natural places.

So I find it hard to understand why the Trump Administration now seems bound and determined to attack that great wilderness and begin seismic testing this year.

Not only does this proposal make zero ecological sense, but it makes zero economic sense too.

Due to the current state of the oil and gas market, which is characterized by a glut of supply that has depressed prices, it is impossible to see how oil and gas development in the Refuge could be profitable. And although the demand crash due to the pandemic has contributed to the current oil glut, CEOs of major oil companies have warned that the oil prices are not likely to ever rebound. Increasing electrification of the transportation sector is projected to keep oil prices under $60 per barrel “forever.” The price per barrel would need to be well above that mark to make oil development in the Refuge economically feasible.

When many energy companies continue to go out of business, losing money in places where they already have permission to operate, targeting the remote Refuge—and despoiling one of America’s most spectacular remaining wild places in the process—defies all logic.

You have a responsibility to follow science and protect this one-of-a-kind ecological wonder, not exploit and diminish it. One of the finest places left in our country and on the planet is under your care. Please do the right thing.

Republicans for Environmental Protection stands in full opposition to seismic testing and other exploration activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


Martha Marks, President
Republicans for Environmental Protection;