For decades, environmentalists have been fighting to keep drilling out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a sprawling 19 million acres of undisturbed wildlands in Alaska. And just before leaving office, President Obama adopted a plan to manage it as wilderness.
And for good reason. This place is more than just beautiful. The Far North is already dealing with the effects of climate change, and the area is one of the lasts redoubts for species like polar bears and musk ox—not to mention the breeding grounds for myriad species of migratory birds. The refuge is also essential to the native Gwich’in people’s way of life and the Porcupine River caribou herd their communities have relied on for thousands of years.
Live at 10am PT: Bernadette Demientiff discusses the Gwich'in Nation's #humanrights fight to protect the #Arctic Refuge from oil & gas drilling.— Your Call Radio (@yourcallradio) May 23, 2018
Join us: https://t.co/6WBqgOSKAu@earthjustice @landislife @NorthernCenter @foe_us @wilderness @PCMBnews pic.twitter.com/gXesJe3f2A
So when Trump allies opened the region to drilling late last year by jamming the measure into a tax bill, the backlash was fierce.
.@lisamurkowski Jeopardizing one of the last remaining pristine #wildlife refuges on Earth so your constituents can make a couple hundred extra bucks on oil dividends...shameful, reprehensible. #GOPTaxScam #SaveTheArctic #ANWR #KeepItInTheGround via @NRDC https://t.co/SRlXUWlhc3— Kristen Quigley (@kristenquigley) December 3, 2017
A new bill, introduced last week by congressmen Jared Huffman of California and other House Democrats, would repeal the Arctic Refuge drilling provision in the tax bill, prohibiting new gas or oil leases and halting the renewals of existing leases. The Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Act would protect one of the last pristine corners of the country where even one lease—and one spill—could bring disaster.
“Although Republicans in Congress snuck a dangerous drilling provision into their tax bill last year, it’s not too late to keep drills out of this iconic landscape,” Huffman said. “But time is not on our side."
Thank you @RepHuffman for introducing the "Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act" that will restore protections and keep oil drills out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and for all you do to protect the Arctic! #ProtectTheArctic pic.twitter.com/N2DVNPRQ25— AlaskaWild 🌲 (@alaskawild) May 24, 2018
A companion bill is expected to be announced soon by Senate Democratic lawmakers, but both are likely to face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House.
Most Americans, including many congressional Republicans, are strongly opposed to oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. So why is it attached to the tax bill?
NRDC played a key role in banning offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic. Once again, it’s fighting to protect those oceans—and the rest of America’s waters.
Before a president auctions off U.S. coastlines to oil companies, he has to ask state governors, Congress, local businesses, and you. Here’s how Trump is ignoring that process—and how it’s endangering coastal communities.
In Donald Trump’s war on the environment, Americans’ complacency is his greatest ally.