Award-Winning Documentary Oil on Ice Used in Surge of Nationwide Grassroots Efforts To Protect The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Senator Boxer Joins Filmmaker, Alaska Natives in DC Days Before Congress to Decide Fate of Arctic Refuge
Washington, D.C. -- Just days before Congress will consider including Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling provisions as part of the Federal Budget Resolution, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) joined Oil on Ice filmmaker Dale Djerassi, Alaska natives, and experts on the Arctic Refuge to field questions about the film and the battle over the fate of America's natural treasure today in Washington, DC. The film is part of a surge in grassroots activity across the country in response to renewed threats to drill in the Arctic as part of the federal budget. Congress is expected to vote on the issue next week.
"Oil on Ice brings to life the beauty of this god-given environment and gives voice to the native Alaskans who know the impact of drilling in a wildlife refuge better than anyone in Washington. The majority of Americans support preserving the Arctic Refuge and the surge in grassroots support of protecting this precious area has been truly impressive," said Senator Boxer, who spoke at today's event.
"President Bush trying to sneak drilling into the budget tells you about the fundamental weakness of the Republican's ideological push to sell off our public lands to the special interests. The drilling lobby knows they cannot sell the American people on this proposition, so they are resorting to a procedural end-run instead of an open, honest debate. The American people don't want drilling, and Congress has rejected it every year since 2001. Everyone except for George Bush seems to understand that drilling in the Arctic Refuge would ruin one of our last wild places without doing a thing to change our dependence on foreign oil. You can't drill your way to energy independence; you have to invent your way there," said Senator John Kerry (D-MA).
Winner of the International Documentary Association's prestigious 2004 Pare Lorentz Award, Oil on Ice - which offers a front-row seat to witness the Refuge's serene beauty, wildlife, and native cultures as well as an in-depth look at America's energy policy - is a key tool in the growing grassroots efforts to raise awareness of this important issue. This Saturday marks Arctic Action Day across the country, with more than 1,500 Oil on Ice house parties planned for concerned citizens, including many members of the Sierra Club, Alaska Wilderness League, and PIRG. Last week, similar events were held at more than 380 university campuses and community centers in the U.S. and Canada as part of Energy Action Day. The screenings were organized by the youth-based group Energy Action and coincided with the final day of a joint Energy Bill lobby week of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
"This groundswell of grassroots action is evidence that Americans want to save the Arctic Refuge, not squander it for a few months' worth of oil," said Sierra Club's Arctic Lobbyist Melinda Pierce. "This film documents the splendor of the Refuge and is being shown at an opportune time, just as Congress has the fate of this special place in its hands."
Oil on Ice is a multi-faceted media project about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and the conflict over drilling for oil there. The award-winning one-hour documentary film, WebDVD and Website ( www.oilonice.org) examine the battle over one of America's last great wild places, which is currently at the symbolic center of a national energy debate. Oil on Ice shows how the fate of the Refuge is inextricably linked to decisions our nation makes about energy policy, transportation choices, and other seemingly unrelated matters, while the culture and livelihood of the native Gwich'in Indians and the survival of migratory wildlife are caught in the balance.
"We are caribou people. It is our clothing, our story, our song, our dance and our food that is who we are. If you drill for oil here, you are drilling right into the heart of our existence," said Sarah James, Gwich'in from Arctic Village.
"As a person who lives off the Bowhead Whale in the Arctic Ocean, we need to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for future generations. What they are trying to do will set a precedent and no land and ocean will be safe," said George Edwardson, Inupiaq from Barrow.
"In addition to the grassroots activities coordinated for Energy Action Day and Arctic Action Day, Oil on Ice is scheduled for public television broadcasts beginning in April," said Dale Djerassi, co-producer and co-director of Oil on Ice. "We are delighted the American public will have the opportunity to see that the Refuge is not a lifeless wasteland as some would have us believe -- it is a national treasure worth protecting for future generations."
Oil on Ice is co-produced and co-directed by Dale Djerassi and Bo Boudart in association with Lobitos Creek Ranch, and is presented by Sierra Club Productions.
For more information about Oil on Ice, to purchase a DVD, host a house party, or view the broadcast schedule, visit www.oilonice.org or call 650-747-0206. For press photos, visit www.oilonice.org/newsroom.
For more information about the fight to protect the Arctic Refuge, please visit: http://www.sierraclub.org/wildlands/arctic/.
About Oil on Ice
OIL ON ICE (www.oilonice.org) is a multi-faceted media project about the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and the conflict over drilling for oil there. The one-hour
documentary film, WebDVD and Website examine the battle over one of Americaï¿½s last great
wild places, which is currently at the center of a national energy debate. OIL ON ICE shows
how the fate of the refuge is inextricably linked to decisions our nation makes about energy
policy, transportation choices, and other seemingly unrelated matters. And as the film concludes,
the culture and livelihood of the native Gwichï¿½in Indians and the survival of migratory wildlife
are caught in the balance.