Politicians in Washington are trying to open the Arctic Refuge and our nation's coasts to destructive drilling in an attempt to offset proposed tax cuts and to favor the oil industry.

GOP leaders in the House and Senate are seeking to expand drilling through congressional budget rules that allow them to pass major policy changes on a simple majority vote.

The Arctic Refuge is one of the last untouched places in the country. It is America's largest wildlife refuge and provides habitat and birthing grounds for caribou, polar bear and migrating birds from all parts of the world. And the Atlantic coastline supports countless marine species and economies that depend on fishing, tourism, recreation and oil-free oceans.

We need leaders in Washington who will defend the Arctic Refuge and our coasts from those who think first about profit and last about preservation. We need our leaders to stand up against short-term public land grabs and be a voice for protecting our pristine lands.

Jan Elbert