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MARCH 5, 2001
2:39 PM
CONTACT:  Sierra Club
David Willett, (202) 675-6698
Dave Westman (cell), (401) 952-6100
Next Generation of Environmental Activists Storm Capitol Hill for Arctic Protection
WASHINGTON - March 5 - In a blizzard of Congressional visits, 150 students from across the nation descended upon Washington today to lobby and educate elected officials on environmental issues ranging from oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge, to off-road vehicle use in Utah. The Sierra Student Coalition held a rally at the Capitol Building today to call on all Senators and Representatives to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as well as wild places in Utah, the Northern Rockies, and all of our National Forests.

"These lands are owned by all of us." said Camilla Fiebelman, National Director of the Sierra Student Coalition, "It doesn't matter where you live, or how old you are, we all have a right to tell our public officials that these unique and beautiful places should be protected for all generations to enjoy."

The students rallying outside the Capitol building Monday had spent the

weekend at the Sierra Student Coalition's third annual Public Lands Action Summit learning about the issues and people that surround public lands in Utah, Alaska, the Northern Rockies and National Forests.

Primary among the many issues these students will talk about Monday and Tuesday while on Capitol Hill, is the issue of wilderness designation for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Last Monday Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK) released an Energy bill into the House and Senate, which, among other things, would allow for the drilling of oil and natural gas in the areas within the United States, and specifically in the Refuge. Last Wednesday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Reps. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) and Ed

Markey (D-MA) introduced a bill into both the House and Senate that would designate the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a federally protected Wilderness Area.

"Drilling the Arctic will not solve any of our energy problem but will destroy an irreplaceable natural treasure," said Dave Westman, a senior at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. "I am in DC today to call on our Senators and Representatives to support protection for the Arctic Refuge and the other public lands. These lands represent the last wild, unspoiled places in America. They're our lands, not oil lands." said Westman.

Along with the Arctic bill, the students will be lobbying on the National Forest Protection and Restoration Act, America's Red Rock Wilderness Act, the Northern Rockies Ecosystems Protection Act, as well as defending the National Forest Roadless protection policy.


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