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A group of 37 U.S.-based scientists whose research focuses on Arctic wildlife asked two U.S. senators in a letter on Thursday not to open the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, according to a copy seen by Reuters.

The scientists, including several retired former officials from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, said in a letter to Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington that drilling for oil and gas in the refuge would be “incompatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established,” protecting fish and wildlife populations and the environments in which they live.

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