Congress ignores will of people, opens Arctic Refuge to drilling

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Between the Arctic Ocean and the jagged peaks of the Brooks Range lies the Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain, which is the biological heart of the refuge.

Both the House and Senate today escalated the Trump administration’s assault on public lands by voting for a tax-reform package that opens the sensitive coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. The House of Representatives voted on the package hours before the Senate, but it expected to vote again Wednesday to mirror some last-minute changes made by the Senate. In response, The Wilderness Society issued the following statement from its president, Jamie Williams:

“This is one of the most anti-environment votes in the history of Congress. If the crown jewel of our National Wildlife Refuge System is not safe from oil and gas development, what is?

"This fight is not over and we will not back down. We will continue to stand with the Gwich’in people and the majority of Americans to ensure that no drilling rig ever touches the Arctic Refuge. We and our supporters will fight this in the courts, in Congress, in corporate board rooms, and wherever else the fight takes us.

“The Arctic Refuge is one of the last pristine, untouched places we have left, and it belongs not only to us, but to our children.”

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