BHA Poll Shows Strong Public Opposition to Drilling in the Arctic

Peary Caribou
Peary Caribou In The Arctic

Backcountry Hunters and AnglersMISSOULA, Mont. -( Polls commissioned in Arizona and Colorado by Backcountry Hunters & Anglers show strong public opposition to energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

In Arizona, 61 percent of voters opposed the proposal, along with 58 percent of Colorado voters.

Meanwhile, a U.S. House of Representatives committee advanced a budget late yesterday that could greenlight energy development in the refuge.

The House FY 2018 budget resolution enables the House Natural Resources Committee to allow energy companies to drill for oil within the refuge’s borders, overturning longstanding prohibitions against development.

BHA Conservation Director John Gale noted that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge enjoys a strong history of bipartisan support, including by U.S. sportsmen and women.

“The diverse fish and wildlife populations found in the refuge, along with its remoteness, make it one of the most sought-after backcountry hunting and fishing destinations in the nation,” said Gale. “Sportsmen, along with most Americans, agree that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and its wildlife-rich coastal plain should remain free from energy development.”

“This week,” Gale continued, “members of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers traveled to Washington, D.C., to bring this message to our elected officials and to urge them to stand up for the refuge and our hunting and fishing traditions. We expect them to join us in defending America’s wildest public lands.”

The polls also found meaningful opposition to drilling among those who consider themselves independent politically. In Arizona, 65 percent of independents and 69 percent of self-described moderates oppose drilling. In Colorado, 63 percent of moderates oppose it.

“This data represents a significant and intense opposition to drilling in the Arctic Refuge, and it is clear that the issue is a meaningful one for residents of Arizona and Colorado,” said Jim Hobart of Public Opinion Strategies, which conducted the polls.

Located in northeast Alaska, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1960 by President Eisenhower “for the purpose of preserving unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values.” Its 19.5 million acres, including 8 million acres of wilderness, provide habitat to iconic game species including grizzlies, Dall sheep and caribou.

“Opening the refuge to drilling would destroy the dream – of hunting public lands that are wild and undeveloped – that is central to so many of us who are hunters,” said Barry Whitehill, an Alaska BHA board member.

Whitehill traveled to Washington, D.C., this week from his home in Fairbanks to meet with members of Congress and support continued conservation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Polling memos are available that summarize the results of both Arizona and Colorado. The surveys were conducted in late June, and each features a sample of 500 likely voters.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the sportsmen’s voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.


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When will people learn that polls can be manipulated with carefully worded statement/questions and with other techniques such as to whom the poll is given. If you give it to a Sierra Club member, you will probably get different answers than from a rancher. I don’t put much stock in polls!

Larry Brickey

It’s certainly a phony poll if you disagree with it.

Wild Bill

Hey OV, We can have our own poll. How many of you out there in ammo land are opposed to energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska raise your hands! Ok… I’m counting now. I don’t see any. There, that’s zero, then. Ok, highly scientific Pols commissioned in the Republic of Texas indicate that 100% of those voting in the Wildly Enthusiastic Bill for Energy Surge (aka WE BEs) show strong support for energy development, lower home oil heating costs, lower gasoline costs, lower propane cost, energy costs, and sending less of our wealth to the terrorist… Read more »

Larry Brickey

I raised my hand. Unless the producers can offset from outside the Reserve, then go for it. It’s done elsewhere.

Wild Bill

B, Oh.. I’m sorry Larry the poll was already closed. Can’t keep them open forever and hold up progress, ya know!

Larry Brickey


Wild Bill

The little old British ladies are, probably, still… comatose. “Shocking these cheeky colonials. Simply shocking” Hey, you guys want another beer with that pulled pork. I shot that little porker right off the back porch, in my pajamas. How he got up onto the back porch and into my pajamas, I’ll never know.


I don’t, but I will vouch for how tasty them animals we got are.


Please QUIT offering this troll left winger anti-gun organization ANY access to this website.
They are ALL FOR the government grabbing private land and holding land in EXCESS of the Constitutional limits.

Larry Brickey

Everybody gets a say. Not everyone on the right believes we should drill in/on the Reserve.


So exciting! More outsiders saying drilling shouldn’t happen in AK. Been there, worked there. Tundra=Arctic swamp. Generally animal population increases when we start developing up there.

Most pictures you get of AK are the interior, south central or the panhandle.If you want a good look at what the tundra really generally looks like, look up Kuparuk or Prudhoe Bay.

Most of Alaskans want to have those resources exploited. We have been stonewalled on this particular section for over 20 years.

Robert McKenna

The “Wilderness” : As I understand it, the part of the Alaska wilderness that is closest to the Sea, where oil was discovered to be available for drilling, is nothing but muskeg, mosquitoes, and permafrost. It is not the picturesque waterfalls, forests, and playgrounds of cute bear cubs as pictured by the tree huggers. It seems that the pictures of the Alaskan wilderness used are of the very most appealing of the scenery and represent only a small part of the total 19.5 MILLION acres. No one would want to hunt or fish on nothing but a flat, frozen, mosquito… Read more »

Bill N.

They made the same noise about the trans Alaska pipeline. It would adversely affect the caribou migration etc. etc, but it never happened. If not for a drunken captain of the Exxon Valdese there would have been no serious problems. People seem to always be against progress, in this case energy dependence. If you love middle east oil so much move there.


Another phony poll, overweighted with leftist urbanites who haven’t a clue what the arctic is like, what drilling consists of, or the adaptability of the wildlife or the environment involved. Drill, baby, drill! MAGA!


As my earlier comment has disappeared, let’s just say I completely agree with you.

I have been there and worked up on the Slopes. Only Outsiders (non Alaskans) seem to have issues with drilling in arctic swamp AKA Tundra.