Tags: arctic drilling | refuge | senate gop | tax bill

Arctic Refuge Drilling Closer as Senate Passes GOP Tax Bill

Image: Arctic Refuge Drilling Closer as Senate Passes GOP Tax Bill

Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

By    |   Sunday, 03 Dec 2017 09:56 PM

The GOP tax bill authorizes drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which has been closed to oil exploration since 1980 because of concerns of the impact on wildlife and the ecosystems, CNN reports.

The tax bill passed by a 51-49 vote with only one Republican voting against it.

Opening the remote refuge to oil and gas drilling is a longtime Republican priority that most Democrats fiercely oppose. The 19.6-million acre refuge in northeastern Alaska is one of the most pristine areas in the United States and is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has lobbied to lift the ban, and on Saturday praised the measure, calling it "another milestone in bringing us that much closer to realizing a decades-long dream of opening the 1002 area of ANWR."

She said drilling can be done safely with new technology, and that the measure would generate about $2 billion in royalties over the next decade.

A group of 12 Republican lawmakers sent a letter to party leaders in the House and the Senate objecting the provision, saying "the resources beneath the Coastal Plain simply are not necessary for our nation's energy independence."

"Decisions regarding oil and gas exploration should be made in the context of a bipartisan, broadly supported national energy policy that takes account of the need to reliably fuel economic prosperity while addressing environmental and national security challenges," they wrote.

The tax bill looks very different in the House and Senate, and lawmakers would need to add the drilling provision to the House bill for it to become law. Both chambers will need to vote again on the final draft.

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The GOP tax bill authorizes drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which has been closed to oil exploration since 1980 because of concerns of the impact on wildlife and the ecosystems, CNN reports.
arctic drilling, refuge, senate gop, tax bill
278
2017-56-03
Sunday, 03 Dec 2017 09:56 PM
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