CLF Statement on Opening the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to Oil and Gas Drilling
In the wake of passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Brian Sybert, Executive Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation, issued the following statement:
“With today’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Congress has opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (the Refuge) to drilling. Pure and simple, this is a tragic theft from the American people. The Refuge is home to calving grounds for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, polar bears, musk oxen, grizzly bears and more than 200 species of migratory birds that visit every state in America. Drilling approval is a budget gimmick in a tax bill that is profoundly unpopular with the American public.
The provision opening the Refuge to drilling was thrown into the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to capture a swing vote on a bill that will explode the deficit. A divisive issue for 40 years, any provision opening the Refuge to drilling should have been in a stand-alone bill subject to the regular legislative process.
This move threatens the Gwich’in people’s subsistence way of life. The Gwich’in have depended on the Porcupine Caribou Herd for thousands of years through one of the planet’s great wildlife migrations.
President Trump has already opened up more than 2 million acres of protected public land through his revocation of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. With this shameful act, Congressional leadership has demonstrated the same contempt for Native people and their ancestral lands as the Trump Administration.”
The non-profit Conservation Lands Foundation is the only organization in the country dedicated solely to protecting, restoring and expanding the National Conservation Lands so they will endure from generation to generation. The National Conservation Lands are 36 million acres of protected public lands, rivers and trails, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, that stand proudly alongside our national parks and wildlife refuges, protecting our nation’s heritage and helping drive the country’s $887 billion outdoor recreation economy. www.ConservationLands.org