Since 2000, ACF has provided considerable leadership, financial support, staffing, and oversight to the Alaska Coalition. One of our largest and most successful campaign efforts to date, the Coalition is a network of grassroots organizations working to protect Alaskan lands, primarily through organizing and outreach in the Lower 48. After six years of attacks upon the Arctic Refuge, we are greatly relieved that the Coastal Plain remains a pristine, internationally significant icon, a sacred place for Native Alaskans, and a national treasure.
There has also been notable success in the Tongass National Forest, stopping exorbitant taxpayer subsidies for road building, and working to secure permanent protection for key wildlife habitats and local use areas.
As immediate pressure to drill the Refuge eases under a Congress more favorable to reducing America's dependence on fossil fuels, the campaign to protect the Arctic is evolving from a defensive stance to a more proactive approach. As before, this effort will require considerable grassroots efforts to foster a national movement toward continued land protection, energy efficiency, and increased use of renewable energy. It will also take a stronger effort to instill a conservation ethic among Alaskans, the majority of whom still support drilling in the Refuge.
This evolving strategy offered an excellent opportunity for ACF to assess its role in organizing outside of Alaska. We recognized excellent synergies with the Alaska Wilderness League (AWL), a highly respected, DC-based organization that has been working to protect the Arctic since 1993. Moving our Coalition organizers to AWL would allow greater efficiencies in program oversight and coordinating strategy, and allow ACF to focus greater energy on its plan to build a local conservation constituency. In late 2006 and early 2007, we worked with AWL to transition this extraordinary organizing team to AWL. In May 2007, the boards of both organizations cleared the way for this move.
On behalf of myself and the board of ACF, I commend the outstanding achievements of ACF's Alaska Coalition team, and the remarkable network that has successfully protected the Arctic Refuge during a major onslaught of development pressure. While our efforts to organize in the Lower 48 are shifting toward Alaska, we are confident that AWL will provide the coordinated support that this effort requires outside the state, while allowing us to seize a rare opportunity to build the local support that long-term protection of Alaska will require. Our partnership with AWL will be a powerful and effective force in the ongoing preservation of Alaska's precious lands. We should all be proud of the immense success of our efforts with the Alaska Coalition,well done! – less–ZoomInfo