NEW YORK (December 19, 2017) -- The following statement is by WCS Senior Conservation Scientist George Schaller on allowing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is part of the tax bill expected to pass Congress and be signed into law this week. Schaller was part of the original scientific expedition in 1956 that led to the Refuge’s creation:

“The actions of the current administration, a majority of the Congress, and oil companies will cause irreparable damage to America's last great wilderness, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska. The Refuge is a place of living grandeur, of vast herds of caribou, polar and grizzly bears, and huge flocks of migrating birds. The livelihood of the local native peoples also depends on these.  We tend to forget as a nation that if we hurt nature we will ultimately hurt ourselves.  Greed, arrogance and lack of morality toward other living beings still shape our vision of the future. The proposal to drill for an unknown amount of oil in the Refuge, and thereby desecrate one of our natural treasures is wholly unpatriotic because the American public greatly values its wilderness areas.”