Rev. Tom Martinez, United Church of Christ, Arizona
"Arizonans concerned with Climate change and the degradation of God's creation are very concerned by the Federal budget that Senators McCain and Flake both voted in favor of, as the budget contains provisions for opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling and exploration. This 19 million square acre refuge is one of the last truly wild places left in North America. Stripping it of its protected status is a careless and short-sighted maneuver in service to the very economic forces that have brought us to the brink of ecological disaster."
Shantha Ready Alonso, Creation Justice Ministries
“Congress has heard repeatedly from hundreds of thousands of people of faith about the importance of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the spirituality, culture, and livelihood of the more than 10,000 year old civilization of the Alaska Native Gwich’in people. It is morally a disgrace that the majority of US Senators would completely disregard the rights of the Gwich’in with their votes. I urge Senators that voted to allow drilling in the Arctic Refuge to think carefully about the injustice of their decision, and to repent and change course in the budget reconciliation process.”
Rev. Doris Hicks, CME Church, South Carolina
“Senator Graham has heard from hundreds of religious leaders in South Carolina and thousands of black church congregants declaring that protecting the Arctic Refuge is a priority for the people of South Carolina and a necessary step to protect this iconic place and the Gwich'in people who call it home. I am disappointed in his vote to drill in the Refuge. I hope that he will see through this budget gimmick and do the right thing by voting against drilling at the next opportunity."
Sarah King, Arizona Faith Network
“Senator Jeff Flake’s and Senator John McCain’s party-line votes on the budget this past Thursday were a huge disappointment to Arizonans who support keeping the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge WILD. The Senators’ votes were instrumental in setting the stage to open up this pristine wilderness, home to the Gwich’in people who consider it to be sacred land, to oil drilling interests. This short-sighted, partisan vote allows the process to move forward that will give oil companies permission to begin operations that will degrade the environment and damage and destroy the G’wichen way of life. Faith-based environmental organizations fought hard for the right of these people to live and worship in their traditional lands, and we urge Senators Flake and McCain to reverse course and ensure that drilling in the Arctic does not move forward in the budget process."
Bishop Dan Edwards, Nevada Episcopal Church
“Last night, our Nevada Senators voted on a moral issue of deep concern to the Episcopal Church: oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The Alaska Native Gwich’in people who depend on a healthy Arctic Refuge for their spirituality, culture, and food security are part of the Episcopal Church, and we stand with them to defend their ancestral home. Their history of living in harmony with the land is more than 10,000 years old. For decades, thousands of Episcopalians, together with other people of faith, have repeatedly called on Congress to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Gwich’in people from the threat of oil drilling.
Senator Heller and Cortez Masto each voted on an amendment that could have struck oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from the revenue provisions of the proposed federal budget. Unfortunately, the amendment was voted down 48-52. Senator Heller voted to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is deeply morally troubling. I urge him to reflect on the justice implications of his decision, and to change course during the budget reconciliation process. Senator Cortez Masto voted against oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, for which I am grateful. I urge Senator Cortez Masto to continue to stand strong with the Gwich’in people to defend their ancestral home.”
Bonnie Rodden, President, Maine Council of Churches
Although an effort failed in the U.S. Senate to block oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge, the Maine Council of Churches thanks Sen. Collins for breaking with her party and continuing to vote in support of God's creation. Sen. Collins has voted the right way for decades to protect one of America's wildest landscapes and the Gwich’in people who depend on the Refuge for their survival. Last night was no different. The future of the Refuge depends on the leadership of Sen. Collins and Sen. Angus King, who also voted against drilling.