Fact Check

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Petition

Should you call the White House to get President Clinton to declare the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a national monument?

Published Jan. 10, 2001


Claim:   Calling the White House will help influence President Clinton to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from commercial development by designating it a national monument.

Status:   Not any more.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2001]

Sen. Frank Murkowski had a column in last Sunday's Outlook Section of The
Washington Post, calling for opening up this glorious area to oil exploration. George W. Bush says this is going to be one of his priorities. Even though Clinton is president for only a few more weeks, he can still designate the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to be a National Monument which would forever protect that pristine wilderness from oil drilling and other commercial development. Bush has already stated that he will turn the Refuge over to big oil. Clinton is on his way out and is sympathetic to
this cause and has already protected more wildlands since Teddy Roosevelt was president. All he needs is a push from the public.

Call the White House hotline at (202) 456-1111 (press "0" when prompted) from 8:30-5:00 EST and tell the comments-line operator that you want President Clinton to declare the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to be a National Monument as the last great environmental act of his presidency. This one action may result in
the protection of more animals than almost anything else you can do.

You may also send the president an email at: president@whitehouse.gov or
fax: 202-456-2461. Your message or phone call can simply say:

Mr. President,

As the last environmental act of your presidency, I am asking you to designate the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to be a National Monument. Please culminate your presidency with this great environmental legacy.

Thank you,

Origins:   This was a legitimate issue, but the White House announced on 10 January 2001 that President Clinton would leave office without making the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a national monument.

Whether the lack of national monument status will open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration is still a subject of debate, however. As the Associated Press reported:

"We believe, after consulting with our environmental team, that ANWR has something that some of the other areas we looked at does not have . . . legislative protective status, which is higher than that conferred to monuments," White House spokesman Jake Siewert said.

Monument designation provides increased protection against development. Such protection already is written into law for the ANWR, Siewert said, legislation from the Carter administration that specifically
prevents oil drilling.

Lawmakers can enact legislation to allow development, but "it would be very hard to open it up to drilling given the narrow split that exists in Congress," Siewert said.

Last updated:   15 December 2007

  Sources Sources:

    Holland, Jesse J.   "Clinton Decides Against Giving Arctic Refuge Monument Status."

    Associated Press.   10 January 2001.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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