As a student of political science with a passion for the environment, I am very concerned about certain policies surrounding our great wild places in the United States. The Trump Administration's 2017 tax bill created a severe threat of oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. The ANWR is over 19 million acres of habitat for species already threatened by climate change. The potential destruction of this habitat is very deserving of more public attention.

Thankfully, the Arctic Refuge Protection Act of 2019 could help the ANWR. The bill would designate around 1.5 million acres of the ANWR as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Those 1.5 million acres then would be protected by the highest existing level of government environmental protection.

Minnesota’s U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is a cosponsor of the act, but our state’s other U.S. senator, Tina Smith, has yet to become a cosponsor. Please join me in calling on Sen. Smith to cosponsor this bill and show the nation that Minnesota cares about protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Kjersten Peterson

Fountain, Minn.