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WHAT IS ANWR AND WHERE IS THE COASTAL PLAIN?

The 19 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) lies in the northeast corner of Alaska. The entire refuge lies north of the Arctic Circle and 1,300 miles south of the North Pole.

The Coastal Plain area, comprising 1.5 million acres on the northern edge of ANWR, is bordered on the north by the Beaufort Sea, on the east by the U.S. Canadian border, and on the west by the Canning River. The Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (both Alaska Native corporations) own 94,000 acres in the Coastal Plain surrounding the village of Kaktovik.

map of ANWR

At its widest points, the Coastal Plain is about 100 miles across and about 30 miles deep and covers an area slightly larger than the state of Delaware. Along the coastal area, the plain is an almost featureless expanse, barren and dotted with thousands of unconnected small ponds; the area to the south becomes gently rolling, treeless hills which merge into foothills and then into the northern edges of the Brooks Range.

There is a Native population of about 220 residents at Kaktovik, a village on Native owned lands at Barter Island, adjacent to the Coastal Plain and within the boundaries of ANWR.

If ANWR was a state, it would be larger than 10 other states;

Size of ANWR relative to U.S. states:

1. ANWR 19.0 million acres
Portion of ANWR permanently closed to development (Wilderness & Refuge) 17.5 million
2. West Virginia 15.5
3. Maryland 6.6
4. Vermont 6.1
5. New Hampshire 5.9
6. Massachusetts 5.3
7. New Jersey 4.9
8. Hawaii 4.1
9. Connecticut 3.2
Area proposed for exploration 1.5 million
10. Delaware 1.3
11. Rhode Island .7

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