Several local craft beverage makers joined others from across Colorado Monday in sending a letter to Sen. Cory Gardner asking him to protect and preserve the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by leaving the refuge closed to oil and gas drilling.

The letter states: “The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is unique and unspoiled, and we have a moral responsibility to preserve and protect it for future generations. Please listen to our substantial business voice in our state and do not allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”

More than 50 Colorado breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries participated in sending the letter, including local companies Boathouse Distillery, Moonlight Pizza & Brewpub and Soulcraft Brewing of Salida and Elevation Beer Co. of Poncha Springs.

Boathouse Distillery owner Jerry Mallett said he worked on pushing through the 100 million acres of national monuments and parkland designated during the Carter administration.

He said the reason he signed the letter was that he believes oil exploration and production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will harm wildlife in the area.

Gardner has expressed support for public lands in the past.

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