Bennet, Colleagues Urge Interior Department to Extend Public Comment Period on Proposal to Lease Oil and Gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today joined a group of colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Acting Secretary David Bernhardt urging him to extend the public comment period for a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on potential oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The letter follows the Trump administration’s decision to rush through the environmental review process in an attempt to rapidly begin exploration without fully considering the devastating impacts that drilling would have on the Refuge.

“The Department of the Interior should extend the comment period due to the extreme sensitivity of the resources affected by leasing, the great complexity of the analysis, the overlapping public comment periods for other actions taking place in the Refuge and the continued government shutdown,” the senators wrote. “…There is no legitimate reason for ignoring these circumstances and rushing through this vital public review.”

In 2017, Bennet and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) 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 development. If the Senate had operated under regular order, this would have blocked Senate Republicans from including a provision to open the Arctic Refuge in their 2017 tax bill.

The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Ed Markey (D-MA).

The letter is available HERE.