Energy & Environment

12 House Republicans object to Alaska refuge oil drilling proposal

Greg Nash

A dozen House Republicans say they oppose the Senate GOP’s proposal to allow oil and natural gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

GOP Reps. Dave Reichert (Wash.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.) and Chris Smith (N.J.) led their colleagues in a letter late Thursday to Republican leaders to try to stop ANWR drilling.

The Senate is due to vote Friday on a tax bill that would at least allow drilling rights sales in the refuge in northeast Alaska, and the House is likely to take up the measure shortly thereafter if it passes.

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The letter from Reichert and his colleagues puts them squarely opposed to most congressional Republicans, who for years have sought to open a small area of ANWR to drilling.

If those lawmakers vote against the tax bill due to the ANWR provision, it could risk its chance of passing.

“One of the most pristine areas left in America today, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to musk oxen, wolves imperiled polar bears, and nearly 200 species of migratory birds that migrate to six continents and all 50 states,” they wrote.

“Any development footprint in the refuge stands to disrupt this fragile, critically important landscape.”

Six of the letter’s signers voted for the House GOP’s tax bill, which did not specifically call for ANWR drilling.

No Republican senator has objected to that chamber’s tax bill due to the ANWR drilling provisions.

Congress set aside ANWR’s coastal plain area in the 1970s for potential drilling but dictated that any drilling in the future would require congressional approval first. Lawmakers have debated the idea since then.

Tags Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Brian Fitzpatrick Carlos Curbelo Chris Smith Dave Reichert Natural gas oil

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