Should Congress designate a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as Wilderness?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

This bill seeks to designate a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as Wilderness, meaning that road construction, motorized transportation, gas drilling, or permanent structures will be prohibited in this area. Sponsor: Sen. Edward Markey (Democrat, Massachusetts) View full bill text ➔

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Opponents say

  By not naming the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness "Alaskans can now look forward to our best opportunity to refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, thousands of jobs that will pay better wages, and potentially $60 billion in royalties for our state alone. This is a major victory for Alaska that will help us fulfill the promises of our statehood and give us renewed hope for growth and prosperity" Source: Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

  "The majority of Alaskans and Alaska Natives express their support for [drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge]. It’s an issue of economic self-determination for our community,” said Richard Glenn, a member of the Inupiat tribe and the executive vice president of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, which owns nearly 5 million acres across Alaska’s northern coast. “This has been the unchanging position of the majority of the residents of our region for more than 30 years." Source: The Atlantic 

Proponents say

  "The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a national treasure and a cultural and spiritual home for Arctic Indigenous peoples. The traditional relationship that the Gwich’in and Inupiat have had with the Refuge for generations, as well as the singular ecosystem on the Coastal Plain, should not be put into harm’s way because of old failed promises of a fictional financial windfall…This legislation would permanently halt any new oil and gas leasing, exploration, development, and drilling on the Coastal Plain, and would safeguard the subsistence rights of the Arctic Indigenous Peoples who depend upon the unique ecosystem within the Arctic Refuge." Source: Sen. Edward Markey (Democrat, Massachusetts)

  "The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the last true wild places left in America, the source of the Gwich’in people’s way of life for generations, and home to rare and threatened wildlife. If we’re going to protect our environment and combat climate change with the seriousness it demands, we must stop opening our treasured ecosystems to be plundered by Big Oil" Source: Rep. Jared Huffman (Democrat, California, District 2)