Arctic policy nonprofit voices support for ANWR development
September 15th 9:36 am | Carey Restino
In a resolution passed last week, Voice of the Arctic Inupiat announced its support for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. The group, which says its purpose is to "provide direct input from the Inupiat people in matters of Arctic policy" and includes many of the government and corporate entities from across the North Slope, said it specifically supports the 1002 coastal plain area that represents eight percent of the total acreage of the refuge.
"The VOICE organization and the villages it represents strongly support economic development in the region," said John Hopson, Jr., mayor of Wainwright, Alaska and vice chairman of Voice of the Arctic Inupiat. "Collectively, we are concerned about the future of our communities and, as of today, we stand together, with our members from Kaktovik, in support of ANWR development as part of the economic solution for the Arctic Slope region."
With the passing of the resolution, the nonprofit group joins the governor, the Alaska delegation and many leaders in the North Slope in calling for the opening of the section of the refuge. The group said safe development of oil and gas resources has supported communities in the North Slope for more than 40 years and provided much-needed jobs, as well as revenue to build schools, health clinics and other services "most Americans take for granted."
"Opening the Arctic refuge to oil production would not only resurrect Alaska's economy and the economies of our Arctic communities, but it would make the U.S. more energy secure - especially as China, Russia and other European nations produce increasingly more Arctic energy," said Sayers Tuzroyluk, president of Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat. "Most Americans recognize ANWR as home to crucial habitat, but fail to acknowledge the needs of thousands of Iñupiat who call the Arctic Slope home. Today's announcement should send a clear message that the people who live here, the ones who are undeniably most affected by Arctic policy decisions, support ANWR development and fully expect to be included in the debate."