Earlier this spring, Trump and Zinke made a deeply unpopular move to open the Arctic Refuge to drilling. Since then, we’ve been waiting to see which companies would take them up on their offer -- and we finally have some answers.A company called SAExploration just applied for a permit to conduct seismic testing for oil in the Refuge. The reality of seismic testing is brutal -- their 90,000-lb “thumper trucks” would send shock waves deep into the ground, carving tracks into the tundra and disturbing polar bear dens. And they could start as early as this December.As Arctic sea ice retreats, more vulnerable polar bears are denning on land. Much of the coastal plain is designated as critical bear habitat, and seismic activity could frighten mother bears out of their dens, reducing the chances of cub survival.Small companies like SAExploration usually fly under the radar on these projects -- it’s the oil companies that make front-page news. But seismic testing will do permanent damage to the Arctic, and we need to show them that moving ahead will be toxic to their reputation; making them infamous for harming threatened polar bears, undermining the human rights of the Gwich’in Nation, and destroying our country’s last great wilderness.
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