This week (week of September 9, 2019), the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act (H.R. 1146). This is the first stand-alone bill to protect the Arctic Refuge to ever receive floor time in the House. With 182 co-sponsors, Representative Huffman’s (CA-2-d) bipartisan bill seeks to restore longstanding protections for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and halt the President’s attempts to open the Refuge’s fragile Coastal Plain to oil and gas exploitation.
Fifty-nine Conservation Alliance members joined us and Protect our Winters (POW) in an open letter to the House of Representatives, urging all members to vote in favor of H.R. 1146.
First set aside as the Arctic National Wildlife Range in 1960, republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower protected the Arctic ecosystem north and south of the iconic Brooks Range, including the Coastal Plain. In 1980, Congress expanded President Eisenhower’s Arctic Range and formally established the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and with it legally closed the Coastal Plain to oil development. That is until 2017…
In December of 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and with it a provision opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s Coastal Plain to oil and gas development. Since the tax reform bill passed, the Trump Administration has been working aggressively to expedite leasing the Coastal Plain to oil developers. At the same time, the Conservation Alliance has been supporting efforts to both legislatively restore protections for the Refuge, and hold the Trump Administration accountable during its hurried process to exploit the Refuge.