Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Edward Markey (D-MA) today secured 41 Senate cosponsors for their legislation to designate the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness and protect the land from future drilling. This significant 41st cosponsor would-if the Senate was operating under regular order-block the provision to open up the Arctic Refuge, included as a rider in the Senate Republican tax bill. This announcement sends a strong signal from 41 senators that the provision should not have been snuck into the Republican tax bill in the first place and that the Arctic Refuge should be protected from oil and gas drilling.
"With our bill's 41st cosponsor, it could not be more clear that we should not open up the Arctic Refuge to drilling," Bennet said. "This critical decision affecting our public lands and water deserves a real process and full debate. Rather than jamming a provision through the Republican tax bill, let's listen to the American people and protect this national treasure-one of the last wildest places left in our country."
"Securing the 41st cosponsor on our legislation to permanently protect the Arctic Refuge from drilling eliminates any doubt, once and for all, that the Republicans would not be able to pass their ‘Big Oil Polar Payout' under regular order," Markey said. "This Republican drilling plan is about as far away from regular order as Alaska is from the Capitol. Republicans should stop using parliamentary tricks to attempt to ram through drilling in the Arctic Refuge as a rider on their tax scam."