Imagine, if you will, a voyage to the far corners of Alaska, during which you explore the frontiers of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. There are fewer places in the world that boast such quiet beauty, but as you wander towards the coast, an incessant buzzing warbles from the distance.
Droves of caribou bolt past, fleeing from this unknown predator. It trills louder and louder. You summit a hill with aching ears, and the horrors of reality unfold before you. On the coastline stands nature’s ultimate predator: an oil rig.
Oil drilling is an imminent threat to the porcupine caribou herd, the largest herd in North America, that migrates to the refuge each year to give birth in the coastal plain. Such a wild frontier cannot sustain the industrial scale disturbance that oil drilling would bring; habitats will be fragmented by the implementation of roads, pipelines, and wellpads. This puts the migratory paths of the porcupine caribou, and the future of their young, at risk for total devastation.
Not only is drilling in the Arctic Refuge an unwise environmental prospect, but a heavy financial risk, too. The Arctic is a hazardous area to attempt drilling in the first place; the complete absence of infrastructure and ruthless climate make the Arctic inhospitable for drilling. Accidents and injuries are infinitely harder to accommodate due to the remote location.
Luckily, there is a way to protect the Arctic — even from Connecticut. We are calling on the CEO of Travelers Insurance, Alan Schnitzer, to demonstrate his devotion to the defense of the Arctic. Travelers Insurance is known to do business in Alaska and is known to insure oil drilling. We are encouraging you, Alan, to release a company-wide statement committing your allegiance to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Six major banks in America and fifteen insurance companies worldwide have pledged not to insure drilling in the Arctic.
Will Travelers Insurance be next?
Hailey Sussman is the Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign Coordinator at Trinity College.