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Episcopalians speak out against oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Posted on: October 25, 2017 4:25 PM
A polar bear keeps close to her young along the Beaufort Sea coast in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The US Senate is considering opening up part of the refuge to energy exploration.
Photo Credit: Susanne Miller / US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

[Episcopal News Service, by David Paulsen] Episcopalians are rallying against oil drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, as the US Senate takes initial steps toward opening part of the refuge in Alaska to energy exploration. The developments in the Senate come just a month after the US-based Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops expressed renewed interest in the issue at their autumn meeting, which was held in Fairbanks, Alaska. The bishops issued a letter to the church urging action on environmental and racial justice.

“Those who live closest to the land and depend on the health of this ecosystem are marginalised by the forces of market valuation,” the Bishop of Alaska, Mark Lattime, said in an emailed statement to Episcopal News Service. “I am proud of the Episcopal Church for its abiding stance in support of the Gwich’in people; the preservation of ANWR for future generations; and for the health of the planet.”

The Gwich’in, mostly Episcopalians because of the church’s early missionary work in the region, are one of the largest native communities in Alaska. Those who live in the small villages of the Alaskan Interior still follow many of the traditional subsistence ways of life that their families have for thousands of years, though that lifestyle now faces environmental, cultural and economic threats.

  • Read more in David Paulsen’s full report on the Episcopal News Service website.