Dear Secretary Salazar,
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. As a supporter of Defenders of Wildlife and someone who cares about protecting our public lands, I value the Arctic Refuge as a pristine landscape and as an iconic part of America's natural heritage.[Your comments will be added here]
As you finalize the Comprehensive Conservation Plan, I strongly encourage you to adopt Alternative C under the proposed Plan. I support Alternative C because it would mean recommending that the Arctic Refuge's coastal plain be designated as wilderness. As the refuge's biological heart and the focus of calls for oil and gas development, the coastal plain both deserves and needs wilderness protection within the Arctic Refuge. The coastal plain is the most important onshore denning habitat for the nation's threatened polar bears and the calving ground of the Porcupine caribou herd. Wilderness protection would help keep these and other species safe from industrial oil and gas development, and would give them the best chance of adapting to climate change by keeping the landscape unpolluted and intact.
I strongly support draft goal number 1, which would preserve natural wildlife populations and wildlife interactions in the refuge. I also strongly support new management guideline number 2, which allows all native wildlife populations to remain un-manipulated. I strongly oppose any State requests to conduct predator control in the Arctic Refuge. The CCP should specifically prohibit consideration of any State regulation or plan, including artificial manipulation or intensive management of wildlife, which conflicts with federal law and policy.
For the past fifty years, Americans have remained committed to protecting this remarkable area and the abundant wildlife that depends on it. We should maintain this legacy so the refuge can continue to be a vital piece of our nation's natural heritage.
Thank you for considering my comments.