Media Resources

259 Organizations Urge Oil Companies to Not Bid on Arctic Refuge Leases

Snowy mountains in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Mason Cummings, TWS

Letter to Oil Companies: Don't Bid on Leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

TO: Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Hilcorp,

The over 250 organizations below, representing over 27.5 million members from all 50 states, are calling on you to not pursue fossil fuel development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; to withhold from bidding on any lease parcels that are offered in the Arctic Refuge in response to the 2017 Tax Act; and to make a public statement in opposition to the development of oil and gas in the Arctic Refuge. The reputational, environmental, climate and economic risks of drilling in the refuge are not worth the potential harm such calamity can do to your brand.

Alaska Native communities like the Gwich’in and Iñupiat depend on the Arctic Refuge and its resources to sustain their communities, culture and way of life. Iñupiat communities rely on Arctic marine species for their diet, which would be impacted by increased oil infrastructure, while the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge has sustained the Gwich’in people for millennia. The Gwich’in are physically and spiritually linked to the Porcupine Caribou Herd, which give birth to their young in the refuge. This is their “Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit” or “Sacred Place Where Life Begins.”

The push to drill in the Arctic Refuge suppresses concerns from Indigenous communities and is a clear violation of their basic human rights. This is why, since 1988, the Gwich’in Nation has opposed oil and gas development in the refuge. The pursuit of industrial development by your company would be in direct conflict with their continued health and spiritual livelihood.

Drilling for oil on the fragile coastal plain will also exacerbate the climate and ecological crisis in an area that is already ground-zero for the climate crisis. Chronic spills of oil and other toxic substances in addition to air, water and noise pollution in the fragile tundra would forever scar this now unsullied land while disrupting wildlife like caribou, polar bear and countless migratory birds.

The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. In the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), the Bureau of Land Management estimated that an average of more than 375,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions would be released each year during extraction alone -- more than 26 million tons during the full 70-year period the agency estimates for oil and gas production in the coastal plain. If we let drilling happen, entire coastal villages will continue to erode into the sea, permafrost melt will increasingly make infrastructure insecure and food sources will disappear. Producing and burning Arctic Refuge oil would accelerate climate change not just for Arctic communities, but for the world. Future generations will be left to deal with the disastrous impacts.

It’s no wonder that drilling in the refuge is so unpopular. Over 70 percent of voters in the United States oppose drilling in the Arctic Refuge which is consistent with the long-held, popular and bi-partisan support for permanent protection of the Arctic Refuge.

Investors are also taking notice. As evidenced by the recent announcements from five of the six largest US domestic banks, the pursuit of oil and gas development in the Arctic Refuge comes with tremendous financial risk as well. Soon we will also be briefing asset managers, insurance and reinsurance companies on the risks of doing business in the Arctic Refuge. As the global community works to pivot away from fossil fuels in the face of climate change, the pursuit of oil and gas in remote corners of the globe will continue to face strong social and political opposition.

Pursuing oil and gas in the Arctic Refuge is increasingly fraught with financial risk. At a time when demand for oil and gas is likely in permanent decline, drilling in the Arctic Refuge doesn’t make fiscal sense. Arctic lease sales are likely to be challenged legally, resulting in additional costs for your beleaguered industry. The risks of investing in new oil exploration are high - no investment in drilling in the Arctic Refuge should be considered safe.

Any company that bids on leases or expresses interest in destroying the Arctic Refuge for oil will face a major public backlash and long-lasting damage to their reputation. As you plan for tomorrow, we hope you recognize that drilling in the Arctic Refuge isn't worth the risk - financially, in terms of your reputations, or for our future. It’s time for you to publicly affirm that you will not drill in the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge.


350 Colorado

350 Eastside

350 Maine

350 Seattle

350 Silicon Valley

350 Vermont




A Community Voice

Acadia Center

Al Carter Consulting

Alaska Community Action on Toxics

Alaska Wilderness League

Alaska Wildlife Alliance

Alaskans For Wildlife

Alaskans Take A Stand

Alternatives North

Amazon Watch

American Bird Conservancy

American Packrafting Association

Anthropocene Alliance

Arctic Audubon Society

Arctic Treks LLC

Arctic Wild

Artic Solar Inc

Audubon Society of Omaha

Basin and Range Watch

Bernstein Construction

Braided River

Brighter Green

Bucks County Audubon Society

Californians for Western Wilderness

Call to Action Colorado

Canadian Arctic Resources Committee

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Yukon Chapter

Cass County MN Chapter, Izaak Walton League of America

Catholic Network US

Center for Biological Diversity

Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition

Central Sierra Audubon Society

Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center

Cetacean Society International

Charlton-Pollard Historical Neighborhood Association

Chequamegon Audubon Society

Chicago Audubon Society

Christian Council of Delmarva

Citizen's Committee for Flood Relief

Citizens Local Energy Action Network

Clean Energy Action

Clean Energy Action - Colorado

Clean Yield Asset Management

Climate Action Now!

Climate Action Rhode Island

Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy

Climate Hawks Vote

Coalition for Wetlands and Forests

Conejos Clean Water

Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes

Conservation Alabama

Conservation Congress

Conservation Northwest

Conservationist Wilderness Committee

Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship

Cottonwood Institute

Cultural Survival

Cypress Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America

Decatur Audubon Society

Defenders of Wildlife

Detroit Audubon

DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council

Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids

Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa Peace and Justice Office

Dominican Sisters of Sparkill

Dominican Sisters of the Roman Congregation

DownRiver Alliance

Dunes-Calumet Audubon Society

Duval Audubon Society

Earth Action, Inc

Earth Ethics, Inc.

Earth Island Institute

Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light



Ecology Center of Southern California

EEECHO, Elgin Green

Endangered Species Coalition

Environment America

Environment Council of Rhode Island

Environmental Protection Information Center

Evansville Audubon Society, Inc.

Everence and the Praxis Mutual Funds

Eyak Preservation Council

Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition

Families for a Livable Climate

Figure 8 Investment Strategies

First Peoples Worldwide

Florida Division of the Izaak Walton League of America

Florida Keys Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America

Fox Valley Citizens for Peace & Justice

Franciscan Action Network

Franciscan Peace Center

Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration

Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges

Friends of Great Salt Lake

Friends of the Earth

Fund Our Future

Georgia Interfaith Power and Light

Glasswaters Foundation

Global Urban Solutions

Great Basin Resource Watch

Great Old Broads for Wilderness

Green America

Green Chalice of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Green Latinos

Green-Rock Audubon Society


Greenpeace USA

Gwich'in Steering Committee

Harrington Investments, Inc.

HBCUs Outside

Hip Hop Caucus

Hispanic Access Foundation

Hrrrl Scouts

Illinois Division of the Izaak Walton League

Indigenous Environmental Network

Information Network for Responsible Mining

InterAmerican Clean Energy Institute

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

Interfaith Power & Light

Iowa Audubon

Izaak Walton League Mangrove Chapter

Juniata Valley Audubon Society

Keeper of the Mountains Foundation

Kentucky Interfaith Power & Light

Kern Audubon Society

Kids Speak For Parks

Klamath Forest Alliance

Labor Network for Sustainability

Lake Co. Audubon Society

Laughing Whitefish Audubon Society

LBC Action

Leadership Team of the Felician Sisters of NA

League of Conservation Voters

Local 100, United Labor Unions


Maine Audubon

Maine Conservation Voters

Market Forces

Michigan League of Conservation Voters

Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter

Movement Rights

Mt. Zion Community Outreach, Inc.

National Audubon Society

National Wildlife Refuge Association

Native American Rights Fund

Native Movement

Natural Resources Council of Maine

Natural Resources Defense Council

Nature Abounds

NDN Collective

New Energy Economy

New Jersey Sierra Club, Ocean Group

New Mexico Horse Council

New Mexico Sportsmen

New Mexico Voices for Children

North Cascades Audubon Society

Northcoast Environmental Center

Northeastern Wisconsin (NEW) Audubon Society

Northern Alaska Environmental Center

Northern Arizona Audubon Society

Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Oakland Audubon Society

Olympic Climate Action

Olympic Forest Coalition

Omni Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology

Onondaga Audubon

OUT There Adventures

OVEC-Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

Pennsylvania Council of Churches

Perpetual Motion NW

Physicians for Social Responsibility Maine Chapter

Polly Dyer Cascadia Great Old Broads for Wilderness

Project Coyote

Protect Our Winters

Pueblo Action Alliance

Rachel Carson Council

Rainforest Action Network

Rapid Shift Network

Raptors Are The Solution

Region VI Coalition for Responsible Investment

RESTORE: The North Woods

Rio Grande Indivisible

Rivers & Birds, Inc.

Rocky Mountain Recreation Initiative

Rocky Mountain Wild

Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment

San Diego Audubon Society

San Juan Citizens Alliance

San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council

Save Our Canyons

Save Our Illinois Land

Scott Community College Environmental Club

Seventh Generation Interfaith

Sheep Mountain Alliance

Sierra Club

Sierra Club Foundation

Sierra Forest Legacy

Sisters of Bon Secours USA

Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth

Sisters of Mary Reparatrix

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team

Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt, New York

Sisters of St. Dominic of Tacoma and Associates

Sisters of St. Francis-Dubuque

Sisters of the Holy Names, U.S.-Ontario Province

Sisters of the Presentation of the BVM

Skye Advisors LLC

South Umpqua Rural Community Partnership

Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative

Southern United Neighborhoods

Staten Island Coalition for Wetlands and Forests

Staten Island Urban Center, Inc.

Stockbridge Audubon Chapter

Sunrise Movement

Sustaining Way


Tennessee Wild

The American Alpine Club

The Climate Center

The Climate Museum

The Land Institute

The Lands Council

The Mountain Pact

The Wilderness Society

Trustees for Alaska

Turtle Island Restoration Network

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment

Vermont Conservation Voters

Voices for Earth Justice

Vote Climate

Washington Wild

Western Environmental Law Center

Western Watersheds Project

Wild Heritage

WildEarth Guardians

Wilderness in the City

Wilderness Watch

Wildlife Adventures

Winter Wildlands Alliance

Wintu Audubon Society

Wisconsin Conservation Voters

Wisconsin Metro Audubon Society

Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN)

Zumbro Valley Audubon