|Scooped by Mohammad Ali Shah|
-The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest intact ecosystems in the world. With its unique wildlife, unspoiled wilderness, cultural heritage and diverse habitats, it is the crown jewel of the Refuge System and vital to protecting America’s wildlife. But it faces a number of threats, most notably those posed by oil and gas drilling.
-Established as the Arctic National Wildlife Range in 1960, the refuge is unique for its mandate to protect wilderness values. The original wildlife range encompassed 8.9 million acres, but its size was expanded to its current 19.6 million acres by President Carter in 1980, and it was renamed the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
-For 30 years, the Arctic refuge’s coastal plain has been at the center of a heated debate over oil and gas drilling. On one side are those who support expanding our domestic oil production at virtually any cost, and on the other side are those who seek to protect the Arctic refuge’s magnificent wilderness and America’s natural heritage.
-In 2008 FWS listed the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, citing climate change as its primSnowy owls are well-adapted for life in the Arctic Circle. Their thick white plumage and heavily feathered talons help them blend in to an icy environment and provide enough warmth to survive the intense cold.
-Oil drilling anywhere presents a risk of oil spills; in the Arctic the impacts of such spills could be catastrophic. Spills are more dangerous here because the combination of a colder climate, slower plant growth rates and longer animal life spans hinder recovery efforts. Additionally, no technology currently exists for cleaning oil from sea ice in the Arctic waters.