Brooks Range, Alaska
In its just-released Fiscal Year 2018 budget resolution, the U.S. House of Representatives today included instructions that would enable the House Natural Resources Committee to authorize drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge through the federal budget process. The instructions for this committee to generate $5 billion over 10 years open the door for Congress to overturn protections against drilling in the Arctic Refuge through a budget reconciliation bill, which requires only a bare majority vote in the Senate.
The coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the wildest place left in America. This biological heart of the protected refuge provides vital denning habitat for polar bears, and is the calving ground of the incredible Porcupine Caribou Herd that sustains the communities and culture of Alaska’s indigenous Gwich’in people. The area is currently off-limits to oil and gas development.
In response to today’s action, The Wilderness Society issued the following statement from its Senior Managing Director for Government Relations, Drew McConville:
“This is a shameless attempt to push an extremely unpopular action through the back door of Congress on behalf of President Trump and the oil lobby.
“We’re confident that Americans will see through this scam and once again demand that the Arctic Refuge remain protected. This refuge is a national treasure, and we have a moral obligation to protect it for future generations of Americans. It is simply too special to drill.”