Official Letter From Oregon Businesses Says "No" to Arctic Drilling

Letter handed to Congressman Defazio and Wyden directly on behalf of Oregon businesses, organizations, and individuals.

President Barack Obama           Senator Ron Wyden
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW   221 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20500                Washington, DC 20510

Senator Jeff Merkley                   Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici  
313 Hart Senate Office Building   2338 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20510                 Washington, DC 20515

Congressman Greg Walden        Congressman Earl Blumenauer
2182 Rayburn HOB                       2134 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515                 Washington, DC 20515

Congressman Peter DeFazio       Congressman Kurt Schrader
2134 Rayburn HOB                       314 Canon HOB
Washington, DC, 20515                Washington, DC 20515

November 2013

Dear President Obama and Oregon’s Congressional Delegation,

America’s Arctic – the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Arctic Ocean and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska – is ground zero for climate change. We know the world is warming. The Arctic region is warming twice as fast. Permafrost is melting. Arctic Ocean ice cover is at record lows. Oregon has the foundation for a clean energy economy and that economy represents an alternative to drilling in the Arctic. We, the undersigned businesses and organizations in Oregon, write to ask you to support alternatives to Arctic drilling and invest in a clean energy economy.

Arctic conditions are extreme. Shell Oil and other Big Oil companies want to begin drilling in the Arctic Ocean, but there is no proven way to clean up an oil spill in the extreme offshore Arctic region. Further, drilling in the Arctic Ocean would release an additional 15.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere – greatly exacerbating our nation’s carbon footprint and accelerating climate change. Spills threaten the Arctic’s wildlife and the local communities who depend upon the land and surrounding waters for their subsistence use.

Onshore, the oil industry has an enormous impact. On Alaska’s North Slope there are more than 450 spills, on average, every year. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was established for its “unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values.” Each summer, the Refuge’s Coastal Plain serves as the critical breeding and birthing ground for caribou and migratory birds that migrate to six continents and all 50 states, yet it is not protected from oil and gas development. We cannot sacrifice this wild and sacred place to an industry with a record of more than one spill per day. We call on the rest of Oregon’s congressional delegation to join Reps. Blumenauer, Bonamici and DeFazio in supporting legislation to protect the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge as Wilderness.

We need real energy solutions. Readily available technologies, like improved transportation fuel efficiency and energy efficiency upgrades in buildings, are already projected to save more energy than the Arctic Refuge might provide. We believe Oregon can help lead the way to a clean energy economy. Oregon has the world’s largest onshore wind farm, an emerging next-generation biofuel industry, leading energy-efficiency standards for consumer goods, much distributed solar and more.

Sacrificing the Arctic to drilling and ignoring Oregon’s clean energy leadership is bad for Oregon and bad for America. We call on you – our elected officials – to please do the following:

1) Oppose drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
2) Protect the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by designating it as Wilderness.
3) Support the recently finalized Integrated Area-wide Plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, which conserves special areas in our nation’s largest single unit of public land, and oppose efforts to undo this plan.


Columbia Biogas                      EcoShuttle
John McKinney President        Jesse Yun President & CEO
721 NW 9th Ave, Suite 227      2420 NE Columbia Blvd
Portland, OR 97209                  Portland, OR 97211

Whole Energy Fuels Corp        350PDX
Atul Deshmane, President        Adriana Voss-Andrea, Chair
2501 NW 28th Ave                  1517 SE Holly St
Portland, OR 97217                 Portland, OR 97214

KersTech Vehicle Systems           United Methodist Church
Lester Erlston, CEO                     Greater Northwest Area
P.O. Box 1895                               Bishop Grant Hagiya
Beaverton 97075 Oregon, USA    Des Moines, WA

Better World Club                   Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility
Mitch Rofsky, President          Kelly Campbell, Executive Director
412 NW Couch St #100          812 SW Washington Street, Suite 1050
Portland, OR 97209                Portland, Oregon 97205   

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
Interfaith Network for Earth Concerns
Jenny Holmes, Environmental Ministries Director
0245 SW Bancroft, Suite B
Portland, Oregon 97239
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