Government Reports Reveal Toxic Legacy of Alaska Wildlife Refuge Oil Drilling

Kenai Oil Linked to Pollution, Deformed Frogs; Raises Questions On Arctic Drilling Push

(03/01/2002) - WASHINGTON – Oil drilling in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska has resulted in more than 350 spills, explosions and fires and is linked with abnormally high numbers of deformed wood frogs, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service studies released today by Audubon and Defenders of Wildlife. The groups’ report Toxic Tundra details a contaminants study and a frog study, which was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. These studies point to the need for further study of damage caused by oil production in Kenai and other National Wildlife Refuges, as well as the importance of keeping industrial development out of the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

"In spite of all the industry’s promises, oil drilling in Kenai and other national wildlife refuges has left behind a disgraceful legacy of contamination, toxic chemical spills, and lasting damage to wildlife and wildlife habitat," said Robert Dewey, vice president for government relations at Defenders of Wildlife. "With such a sorry record, does anyone honestly believe the oil companies’ fatuous claims that they’ll do better next time, if we just throw open the doors to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?"

"Oil drilling in a national wildlife refuge is simply an awful idea, " said Lois Schiffer, Audubon's senior vice president for public policy. "There can be no question, in light of these studies, that oil drilling would be a disaster for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." Copies of these studies are available by request.


Founded in 1905 and supported by 600,000 members in more than 500 chapters throughout the Americas, the National Audubon Society conserves and restores natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife, and their habitats, for the benefit of humanity and the Earth's biological diversity.

Defenders of Wildlife is a leading nonprofit environmental advocacy organization with more than 500,000 members and supporters, especially recognized as one of the nation’s most progressive advocates for endangered wildlife, its habitat and biodiversity. Defenders uses education, litigation, research and innovation to advance its mission over the opposition of special interests. Visit our Web site at



Brad DeVries, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-0237
Christine Romano, Audubon, (202) 861-2242