Lawmakers Unveil Bill to Ban Drilling in Alaska Wildlife Refuge

National News

Two Democrats and one Republican in the House on Monday introduced legislation to ban oil and natural gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, The Hill reported.

The bill from California Democratic Reps. Jared Huffman and Alan Lowenthal, and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., would repeal a section of the 2017 GOP tax law that opened, for the first time, part of the refuge for drilling.

“Not only is the refuge one of the last great expanses of untouched wilderness in America, it is home to to tremendous ecological diversity. It’s one of the last bastions of true wildness left on the planet,” Huffman said at a news conference, the news outlet reported.

“This is a deeply unpopular thing in the United States. People don’t want it. They haven’t asked for it. And they will not accept that the wildest place in our country is on track to be sacrificed at the altar of big oil.”

Fitzpatrick voted for the 2017 tax bill, but has stated his opposition to the wildlife refuge drilling provision, The Hill noted.

Interior’s Bureau of Land Management is working on the environmental review for drilling, which must be completed before it can sell leases. Officials aim to hold the first auction in 2020, The Hill reported.

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