WASHINGTON – The United States Senate passed its version of the federal tax reform reconciliation bill by a vote of 51 to 49 early this morning, loaded with a toxic provision that would open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to destructive oil drilling. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) offered an amendment to strike the drilling language from the final bill, but the amendment failed by a narrow margin of 52-48. On Friday, House Republicans issued a letter expressing their deep concern about the environmental impacts of Arctic refuge drilling.
Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:
“All eyes are on the House now to save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and we’re calling on representatives to reject this extraneous and destructive Senate provision. Arctic refuge drilling is not in the national interest and will not reduce the huge deficit the tax bill creates. It must be struck from the final tax reform bill. This special area is the last hope for imperiled polar bears, the iconic Porcupine caribou herd and the thousands of migratory bird species that depend on the coastal plain.
“Sen. Murkowski’s big sellout to the oil industry must be stopped. An international treasure and America’s conservation legacy are at stake. We’ve been fighting to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for more than 30 years. We won’t let it end like this.”