House Democrats introduced legislation to the House Tuesday that would lock up Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) from oil and gas drilling, The Hill reported.
President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress opened up the 1002 Area of the refuge to drilling in an amendment tacked onto the tax bill passed in December 2017. Alaskans and the GOP have pressed to open the section of ANWR since the 1980s. (RELATED: With the Stroke Of A Pen, Trump Claims Victory In The Decades-Long Battle Over ANWR)
Democratic Reps. Jared Huffman of California, Raúl Grijalva of Arizona and others are pushing a bill that would close off ANWR again.
“Plain and simple: [ANWR] is a national treasure worth protecting for future generations,” Huffman said in a statement. “Although Republicans in Congress snuck a dangerous drilling provision into their tax bill [in 2017], it’s not too late to keep drills out of this iconic landscape.”
The 1002 Area is 1.5 million acres of ANWR that was set aside as an oil reserve under section 1002 of the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. (RELATED: Trump Is Beginning To Tap Into Those Massive Alaska Oil Stores He Opened)
Alaska’s Congressional delegation of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young all joined in praising the administration for tapping the 1002 and “moving forward on this important program to help ensure the energy and economic security of our nation.”
Trump’s administration could start auctioning off drilling leases in ANWR as early as 2019.
“Time is not on our side: we need to repeal this oil and gas giveaway soon to ensure that the Artic Refuge’s coastal plain remains unspoiled for future generations to experience and enjoy,” Huffman said.
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