BACKGROUND Year after year, precious tracts of land and stretches of ocean are contaminated by oil spills and gas leaks. Yet recently the House of Representatives passed the PIONEERS Act (H.R. 3408), a bill that encourages oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coasts, as well as force approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, as part of a larger transportation package that seeks to fund infrastructure with oil drilling revenues. Senator Vetter (R-LA) has proposed the same measure as an amendment to the Senate transportation bill.
Particularly alarming is expanded oil and gas exploration and drilling off the Alaskan coast, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). ANWR stands as one of America’s last true wilderness areas, containing numerous fragile arctic ecosystem and habitats for caribou, polar bears, arctic foxes, and snowbirds. This area represents the last 5% of Alaska’s North Slope that is not already open to drilling. Opening ANWR and our fragile coastlines for drilling would sacrifice the long-term health and security of our nation for the short-term gain of consuming more oil, ignoring our responsibility to respond to climate change.
JEWISH VALUES In Genesis we learn that when God placed the first human beings in the Garden of Eden, God gave humanity a dual role in relationship to the surrounding environment, "to till it and tend it" (Genesis 2:15). This demands a balanced approach to development, a careful consideration of the competing needs both to employ the resources with which God has provided us and to protect those resources for generations to come.
TAKE ACTION NOW Urge your Senators to oppose Sen. Vetter's transportation bill amendment authorizing expanded oil and gas drilling. The Capitol Switchboard can be reached at 202.224.3121,or you can send an e-mail by entering your zip code below.