July 8th, 2024

The Honorable Tom Cole
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro
Ranking Member
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Cole, Ranking Member DeLauro and Members of the Committee,

On behalf of our millions of members and supporters, we write to express our concern and opposition to the inclusion of multiple poison pill riders targeting the Arctic’s fragile and pristine ecosystems in order to ram through a flood of new oil and gas projects. Poison pills such as these should never be included in an appropriations bill and we urge you to reject these and any other similar ones. These provisions include:

Section #153: Defunds the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge oil and gas lease cancellations performed by President Biden in fall 2023. These Trump-era leases were illegally issued and rightfully canceled by the Department of Interior. It also prohibits funding for any future lease cancellation in the Western Arctic (NPR-A).

Section #154: Prohibits funding for implementation, administration, or finalization of the Western Arctic (NPR-A)’s recently finalized rule or any substantially similar rule – a rule which updates management for the largest unit of public land in the country and provides important protections for the 13 million acres of existing “special areas” in the NPR-A as required under the National Petroleum Reserves Production Act.

Section #146: Mandates offshore oil and gas lease sales twice a year off the coast of Alaska, which is currently off limits to oil and gas development.

Section #150: Mandates quarterly onshore oil and gas lease sales throughout Alaska’s ecologically critical public lands, and in many other states.

Many of these provisions are intended to undo important steps taken by the Biden administration to protect our public lands, including canceling illegally-issued oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, restoring an Obama-era moratorium on offshore drilling in 125 million acres of the Arctic Ocean (Executive Order 13990), and modernizing management of the Western Arctic to better safeguard 13 million acres of critical subsistence resources, ecosystems and species in the region. These actions constitute critical protections for millions of acres of public lands and are essential to meeting our climate targets.

Beyond these harmful policy riders, the bill slashes funding for critical environmental programs, agencies, and policies, any number of which would be devastating to climate, conservation, clean energy, and communities if implemented. We urge you to oppose these riders and the many other anti-environment ones included in this year’s FY25 Interior appropriations bill.

Thank you,

Alaska Wilderness League Action
350 Bay Area Action
Alaska Soles, Great Old Broads for Wilderness
American Bird Conservancy
Arctic Audubon Society
Braided River
Californians for Western Wilderness
CCAN Action Fund
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for the Blue Economy
Clean Water Action
Climate Crisis Policy
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
Community for Sustainable Energy
Conservation Lands Foundation
Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship
Defenders of Wildlife
Endangered Species Coalition
Environment America
Environmental Action
Environmental Protection Information Center – EPIC
Extinction Rebellion Houston
Friends Of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges
Friends of the Earth Action
Great Old Broads for Wilderness
Greenpeace USA
Inland Ocean Coalition
International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute
Klamath Forest Alliance
League of Conservation Voters
National Ocean Protection Coalition
National Wildlife Federation
National Wildlife Refuge Association
Natural Resources Defense Council
Northern Alaska Environmental Center
Ocean Defense Initiative
Our Sacred Earth
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Rise Up WV
Sierra Club
Soda Mountain Wilderness Council
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic (SILA)
Surfrider Foundation
Sustainable Ocean Alliance
The Earth Bill Network
The Episcopal Church
The Rachel Carson Council
The Wilderness Society
Trustees for Alaska
Union of Concerned Scientists
Unite North Metro Denver
Wild Fish Conservancy
World Wildlife Fund
Zero Hour