Gwich'in Arctic Village Resident Matthew Gilbert Blogging on the Arctic Refuge for the NRDC Action Fund

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Matthew Gilbert of AlaskaÂ?s Gwich'in community is now blogging on the Arctic Refuge at the NRDC Action Fund Blog ( Gilbert is a resident of Arctic Village, Alaska, which borders the Arctic Refuge.

The House and Senate have passed a “budget resolution” that paves the way for oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge. However, to complete its raid on the Arctic, Congress must still pass a "budget reconciliation" bill that formally opens the Refuge to drilling. The showdown vote aimed at sending the budget reconciliation bill to President Bush for his signature will likely take place in mid-September. Matthew Gilbert is speaking out against drilling in the Refuge at

"The fact that it's even a question whether we should drill in a pristine place like the Arctic Refuge, the breeding grounds of Polar Bears, the Porcupine Caribou Herd, and many bird species, is an ethical travesty of our time. The world is realizing fossil fuel is becoming more and more scarce and its costs to the earth more expensive. We Gwich'in of Alaska pay $5.00 a gallon and are getting hit the hardest, but we know our environment is far more important. Even in a time of energy shortage, we stick to our belief: complete protection of the Refuge's Coastal Plain to ensure the survival of the Porcupine Caribou Herd."

Gilbert is currently interviewing Gwich’in elders’ about their traditional knowledge in their Native villages. His goal is to empower local Alaska Natives to play a more important role in documenting climate change and working to solve the problem. He graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in June, majoring in English. He has worked as a fisheries and wildlife technician conducting sampling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Hosted by NRDC Action Fund President Frances Beinecke, the NRDC Action Fund Blog ( gives readers the chance to exchange comments and get organized to take action. With personal reflections and a fresh look at the issues, Beinecke calls attention to the dangers posed by the Bush Administration's policies and tells readers about what they can do to help stop them.

About the NRDC Action Fund

The NRDC Action Fund is spearheading the fight for America’s environment on Capitol Hill. A non-profit organization operating under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, the Action Fund is leading a massive campaign, funded by ordinary Americans, to halt and reverse the Bush Administration’s corporate-sponsored, anti-environmental agenda. The NRDC Action Fund is an affiliate of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).


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Jordan Kessler
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