Polar bears, caribou herds and migratory birds are at grave risk. President Donald Trump is fast-tracking the auction of drilling rights in the entire coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

Wildlife is already endangered in the Arctic where climate change is happening at a much faster rate than in other regions of the world. Adding habitat destruction from drilling could be the breaking point for sensitive wildlife and the indigenous people dependent on them.

While Trump is directing our attention to unsubstantiated election claims, he is fast-forwarding polices that favor the fossil fuel industry and his political interests—but not the common good. Auction of drilling rights in the Arctic could begin in December.

Public outcry, and support of environmental organizations pursuing legal action against destructive drilling, can make a difference. Major U.S. banks have already sworn off financing Arctic drilling, except for one (http://sc.org/arcticbofa).

Trump has opened 5.4 million acres of national monuments to drilling and exploitation, leaving irreplaceable national heritage vulnerable to permanent damage. Bears Ears National Monument was reduced by 85 percent, losing protection of its ancient rock art, cliff dwellings and cultural sites. President-elect Joe Biden could reverse reduction of national monuments but only for his presidential term. Long-lasting protection is needed (https://www.wilderness.org/articles/blog/5-disastrous-consequences-trump-admins-final-bears-ears-and-grand-staircase-plans).

Protection of our public lands, wildlife, environment, air and water quality is paramount to the legacy we leave our children. This legacy should not be sold off for political gain or nonessential short-term interests. There’s too much to lose.

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