President Donald Trump touted how tax cut legislation he signed last year accomplished something former President Ronald Reagan and many other presidents couldn’t — opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to drilling.
Trump highlighted the opening of ANWR during a speech in West Virginia on Thursday. Trump said “a friend of mine called up who’s in that world and in that business said, ‘is it true that you’re thinking about ANWR.'”
“I said, ‘yeah, I think we’re going to get it, but you know’ — he said, ‘are you kidding, that’s the biggest thing by itself. Ronald Reagan and every president has wanted to get ANWR approved,'” Trump said.
“And after that I said, ‘oh, make sure that’s in the bill,'” Trump said.
The GOP tax bill ended a decades-long political battle of drilling for oil and gas in ANWR. The bill opened the 1.5 million acre 1002 area along Alaska’s Arctic coastline to drilling.
The so-called coastal plain is just 8 percent of ANWR’s total area, but environmentalists and Democrats have fought tooth and nail to keep it off limits to drilling. ANWR is estimated to hold as much as 10 billion barrels of oil.
Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski pushed through a reconciliation bill to raise $1 billion over 10 years through opening the 1002 area to oil and gas drilling. The bill became part of the GOP’s overall $1.5 trillion tax cut plan.
“I didn’t really care about it, and then when I heard everybody wanted it — for forty years they’ve been trying to get it approved and I said ‘make sure you don’t lose ANWR,'” Trump said.
“But it’s great for the people of Alaska, and Senator Sullivan, Senator Murkowski, … are very happy campers,'” Trump said pointing to the lawmakers.
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