— Anchorage Daily News (@adndotcom) December 20, 2017
One of the subplots to President Trump’s hotly contested and debated tax bill cut proposal that was passed by the Senate and House in the early-morning hours on Wednesday also opened the door for drilling to take place on parts of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Here’s the Anchorage Daily News with more:
The tax bill included a measure to open a 1.5-million-acre coastal section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.
The measure, written by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, requires the federal government to hold two lease sales within seven years in a 1.5-million-acre section of the coastal plain. The first lease sale must be held within four years, and could lead to drilling and oil production.
Alaska’s congressional delegation hailed the approval of the provision as a momentous victory after about four decades of failed attempts to open the coastal plain. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill.
“This is a watershed moment for Alaska and all of America,” Murkowski said in a prepared statement from the delegation. “We have fought to open the 1002 Area for a very long time, and now, our day has finally arrived.”
The “1002 area” is the coastal section as named in the 1980 law that set the area aside for possible development, with the approval of Congress and the White House.
“This is a major victory for Alaska that will help us fulfill the promises of our statehood and give us renewed hope for growth and prosperity,” she said.
Reaction on Twitter had the obvious mixed emotions:
The legislation includes a section of mine, which contains an important step in creating new economic opportunities by opening up the non-wilderness 1002 Area of ANWR for responsible energy development.
— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) December 20, 2017
Just voted to cut taxes for middle class Alaskans and at long last, open the 1002 area of #ANWR for responsible resource development — a decade's-long effort!
— Sen. Dan Sullivan (@SenDanSullivan) December 20, 2017
Drill, baby, drill. https://t.co/MeXmyykAdL
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) December 20, 2017
As an homage to the late AK Sen Ted Stevens, AK Sen Murkowski dons an Incredible Hulk scarf for Senate tax vote. Stevens always wore an Incredible Hulk tie for big votes. Drilling in Arctic Nat’l Wildlife Refuge is in the bill, a Stevens priority pic.twitter.com/GCFObtgdLJ
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) December 20, 2017
GOP is about to vote for a tax bill that opens #ArcticRefuge to drilling to “offset national debt.” This will have next to no effect on budget but many negative consequences for tribes, wildlife & national heritage. This fight isn’t over. #ProtectTheArctic https://t.co/yBSIxX4K7e
— Michael Bennet (@SenatorBennet) December 20, 2017
We're about to open up 20 million acres of some of the wildest land on Earth to oil drilling. A measure allowing that is buried in the tax cut bill. Our @NatGeo photos show you what's at stake in #ANWR https://t.co/yvAM4HsVcM
— Susan Goldberg (@susanbgoldberg) December 19, 2017
The U.S. Congress has voted to do the unthinkable and open America’s Serengeti – the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – to oil development. Is this a setback? Yes. But the fight has just begun. https://t.co/QDFa8Y75tq #ProtectTheArctic #ArcticRefuge pic.twitter.com/ttAhdu95WF
— Alaska Wilderness League ?? (@alaskawild) December 20, 2017
— Rep. Donald McEachin (@RepMcEachin) December 13, 2017