To the Editor:
As we celebrate our nation’s birth this July 4th, it is also worth celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Wilderness Act has protected many special places in America. Federally-designated Wilderness Areas provide world-class opportunities for outdoor recreation, and a healthy habitat for wildlife.
That’s why Congress should protect the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska as Wilderness. The Refuge is home to some of America’s most rare and spectacular wildlife. Like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon, the Arctic Refuge is a national treasure. Yet the Coastal Plain could be opened to oil drilling.
Democrats and Republicans have worked together to defeat repeated attempts to keep drilling rigs, roads, pipelines and air pollution out of the Refuge. Congress has an opportunity to build on that bipartisan conservation. In fact, Minnesota’s long-time 3rd District Congressman Jim Ramstad was the lead author of bill to designate the Arctic coastal plain for Wilderness protection. I urge Congressman Erik Paulsen to co-sponsor HR 139. Let’s protect and celebrate America’s wild places.