This statement, released on September 27, 2001, has been signed by Lutheran, Episcopalian, UCC, and Presbyterian policy offices. It has been issued in light of the amendments offered by Sen. James Imhofe which would attach the entire Republican Energy Bill to the Defense Authorization Bill.
If this amendment is adopted, drilling for oil in the Actic National Wildlife Refuge and other sensitive areas would be mandated.
Eco-Justice Ministries urges you to contact your US Senators immediately and insist that the Imhofe amendments to the Defense Authorization Bill be defeated.
On October 2, the Senate voted unanimously to defeat this amendment.
As people of faith with a commitment to both the preservation of God's earth and human rights, we feel called to protect the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Drilling for oil or gas in ANWR will not benefit the troops we now pray for. In fact, it is unlikely to see oil or gas production for 10 years. Americans can and should conserve today to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil and important natural resources during this national emergency. We make this statement today remembering that it is a Jewish High Holy Day, Yom Kippur, which in part is about repairing our relationships with God and our community. On this day we need to reaffirm our commitment to repair our relationship with the God's earth, not seek to further destroy it.
The Gwich'in people, whose subsistence depends on the 130,000 caribou that migrate to the coastal plain each year to bear their calves, call the coastal plain "the sacred place where life begins." The Interior Department has estimated that drilling could cause a 30-40 percent decline in the populations of the coastal plain's species, and destroy much of this fragile ecosystem. Also, drilling in the coastal plain would be devastating to the caribou and to the Gwich'in people who depend on the caribou for their traditional way of life.
We are saddened that the divisive issue of drilling in ANWR is being raised at this time of national crisis. However, if others choose to make this an issue now, we must come forward to oppose any efforts to plunder this national treasure. Instead, we invite our policy makers to join us in seeking to repair, rather than further, the damage we have done to God's earth and God's creatures.
We are deeply concerned by the attempt to amend the Department of Defense FY 02 Authorization Bill to allow drilling for oil and gas in ANWR. We call on the Senate to reject any amendment allowing drilling for oil and gas in the Alaska National Wilderness Refuge. The Arctic Refuge is a national treasure, a wilderness sanctuary, and a homeland to the Gwich'in Indians deserving of protection as an enduring legacy for future generations.
But ask the animals what God does. They will teach you. Or ask the birds of the air. They will tell you. Or speak to the earth. It will teach you. Job 12:7-8