Protesters target SAExploration in Texas over Arctic Refuge

Protesters filmed themselves in the Houston office of SAExploration. (Photo: Facebook Live)

A group of Native American protesters went to the offices of SAExploration in Houston today to object to work the company wants to do in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Protesters streamed video of their event in Texas on Facebook. It showed the group crowded into the reception area of the company’s office. They left a stack of boxes they said contained more than 100,000 messages urging SAExploration to give up its ANWR project.

Organizers included the Sierra Club and Alaskan Bernadette Demientieff, director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee.

SAExploration has applied for permission to conduct a seismic survey in the refuge this winter and next, using a fleet of tracked vehicles to thump the ground. The plan is to survey the entire 1002 area, the coastal plain that Congress opened for leasing.

Before the partial government shutdown, the company was in talks with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to resolve concerns about denning polar bears. The CEO told the Anchorage Daily News last month the shutdown was delaying their plans.

The company did not respond to phone and email messages Monday.

Despite the shutdown, the Bureau of Land Management is advancing a plan to hold a lease sale in the refuge this year.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at

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