Bennet Fights to Stop Republican Effort to Open Arctic Refuge to Drilling

Republican budget tax plan would open up Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Edward Markey (D-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Udall (D-NM), Al Franken (D-MN), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) were joined today by the League of Conservation Voters, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Alaska Wilderness League to call for the removal of any language in the Fiscal Year 2018 Republican budget resolution that would allow for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

"Congress should reject this effort to jam language through the budget to allow drilling in the Arctic Refuge," Bennet said. "Drilling in one of the most spectacular landscapes in America, a place sacred to native tribes and critical for local wildlife - for what amounts to little more than a political stunt - is entirely unacceptable. Instead, we should have a serious, open debate about energy that the American people deserve and that our future demands."

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the largest unit in the National Wildlife Refuge System. In 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower established the original refuge, which comprised 8.9 million acres, as the Arctic National Wildlife Range. It was later expanded in 1980 to its current 19.6 million acres and renamed the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The 1.56 million-acre Coastal Plain, the biological heart of the Refuge, supports more than 250 species, including caribou, polar bears, grizzly bears, wolves, muskoxen, wolverines, and migratory birds.

A video of the press conference can be found HERE.