Rep. Huffman Introduces Bill to Repeal GOP Tax Scam’s Arctic Wildlife Refuge Drilling Mandate

Washington, D.C.-  To halt the oil and gas drilling exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge currently being rushed by the Trump administration, Vice-Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources Jared Huffman (D-CA), Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Donald McEachin (D-VA),  and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) today introduced the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act. 

The Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act would protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas drilling by repealing the controversial provision tucked into the 2017 Republican tax law that mandated oil and gas leasing, development, and production in the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge.

“Plain and simple: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a national treasure worth protecting for future generations,” said Rep. Huffman. Although Republicans in Congress snuck a dangerous drilling provision into their tax bill last year, it’s not too late to keep drills out of this iconic landscape. But time is not on our side: we need to repeal this oil and gas giveaway soon to ensure that the Artic Refuge’s coastal plain remains unspoiled for future generations to experience and enjoy.”

“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is unique, and it is too precious to hand over to oil and gas companies for oil that we don’t even need, and that the American people will see no benefit from,” said Rep. Grijalva. “It’s for these reasons and more that I’m a proud cosponsor of Congressman Huffman’s bill that would immediately stop the Trump administration from drilling in the Arctic Refuge and protect this pristine land from being handed over to big corporate polluters.”

“Drilling in the Arctic Refuge is arguably even more unpopular than the tax bill it was jammed into last December,” said Adam Kolton, Executive Director of Alaska Wilderness League. “And in the months since, it has become clear the Trump administration’s mad dash to lease is all about beating the political clock with no consideration for the wildlife, wilderness or subsistence values of this cherished landscape.  Representative Huffman’s repeal bill is an opportunity to right a wrong perpetrated five months ago and restore protections to the wildest place left in America.”

"The American people and some of the world's most significant investors know that drilling in the Arctic Refuge is a terrible idea. It would threaten the food security and human rights of the Gwich'in people, contribute to climate change, and permanently destroy one of the world's last wild places, all for the benefit of corporate polluters," said Sierra Club Lands Protection Program Director Athan Manuel. "Now Congress has a chance to undo the dangerous and short-sighted decision to sell off this special place to corporate polluters. We applaud Representative Huffman for his leadership in protecting America's Refuge."

Polling shows that the majority of Americans are “strongly opposed” to drilling in the Arctic Refuge. Recent public opinion research commissioned by the Center for American Progress showed that 67% of Americans oppose drilling in the Arctic Refuge, with a majority (52%) “strongly opposed.”

Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower first initiated protection of the wilderness values of the Arctic coastal plain in 1960 when he set aside 8,900,000 acres establishing the Arctic National Wildlife Range.

The Arctic Refuge and its Coastal Plain is home to polar bears, grizzly bears, wolves, wolverines, muskoxen, and more than 130 species of migratory birds.

The Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act is supported by: Alaska Wilderness League, Gwich’in Steering Committee, Braided River,  Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice,  Environment America, Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges, League of Conservation Voters, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Refuge Association, Native Movement, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, REDOIL, Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society.

Press Contact

Diane Padilla (Grijalva)

(202) 225-6065 or (202) 306-1333 

Alexa Shaffer (Huffman)