Washington Senator Critical Of Arctic NWR Drilling Report

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell (D) blasted the Trump Administration’s release of an environmental analysis to determine the possibility of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling. Earlier today, the House of Representatives voted 225-193  to reinstate a ban on drilling at Arctic NWR, a vote that seems less likely to pass in among Cantwell’s fellow Senate members.

Here’s Cantwell’s statement. The senator has been one of the loudest opponents to Alaska’s Pebble Mine controversy in Alaska:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement slamming the Trump administration’s environmental analysis for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which will offer the full 1.6 million acres of the refuge’s federally-managed coastal plain for lease to oil and gas companies:

“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is an intact ecosystem with some of the world’s most unique wildlife. It has been protected for decades. Now the Trump administration plans to destroy it by proposing to drill everywhere in the refuge and conducting a sham environmental review process. Instead of living up to their commitment to protect wildlife, they are spreading pollution risk everywhere.”

The plan released by the administration is the most pro-drilling option considered by the Bureau of Land Management. It will leave just 359,000 acres of the refuge off-limits for drilling.

Throughout her career in the Senate, Cantwell has been a leader in protecting the refuge from oil exploration and drilling. She has cosponsored multiple bills to designate its coastal plain as a wilderness area, including legislation introduced earlier this week. In December of 2005, Cantwell led a historic filibuster that reversed a backdoor maneuver in the Senate to allow drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

Here’s the Associated Press on today’s House vote:

The drilling was authorized under a 2017 tax cut approved by the Republican-controlled Congress, an action the House vote attempts to undo. The bill now goes to the GOP-controlled Senate, where action is unlikely. Trump has vowed to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

Later Wednesday, the Interior Department released its final environmental impact statement on drilling in the refuge, with its preferred plan to offer the entire coastal plain for lease.

Here’s some more social media reaction: