Should the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge be protected wilderness?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

S. 282 would permanently protect lands of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) from commercial exploitation. This act would designate the specified 1.5 million acres of the ANWR, referred to as the “Coastal Plain”, to federally protected status in the National Wilderness Preservation System. This would restore the ANWR to its previous status of protection, which had been overturned in 2017 by the Trump administration’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. S. 282 would be in tandem with the recent executive order by President Biden that now holds a temporary moratorium on all oil and gas activity in the area. Sponsor: Senator Edward J. Markey (Democrat, Massachusetts) View full bill text ➔

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Opponents say

• "Some of our nation's richest oil reserves exist along the Coastal Plain within ANWR. It is accessible, it is extractable, and oil production and wildlife in ANWR are compatible… Responsible development of ANWR would create hundreds of thousands of jobs across our nation in virtually every state because a secure supply of petroleum will create demand for goods and services and lower the cost of doing business." Source: Governor Sean Parnell (Republican, Alaska)

Proponents say

• "The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a pristine, million-year-old ecosystem unlike anything else we have in the United States, which is why it should be permanently protected. The future of the Arctic is in tourism, and with new sea routes opening up the real value of this land is conservation, not exploitation." Source: Senator Maria Cantwell (Democrat, Washington)
• "After a recent failed set of lease sales, it’s clear that Republicans’ promises of a major fiscal windfall from development on the coastal plain were really a major fiscal flop. The (ANWR) is worthy of protection, with deep value to Arctic communities and to the nation as a whole. In tandem with efforts to safeguard the Refuge from harm, we encourage meaningful consultation with Indigenous peoples regarding the use, management, and conservation of the coastal plain." Source: Senator Ed Markey (Democrat, Massachusetts)