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Chair Grijalva: Trump Opening Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Drilling is What Happens When Rejecting Science, Being Destructive is the Whole Point

08.17.20

Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today said the Trump administration’s decision to open the entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to fossil fuel extraction is the inevitable consequence of empowering an administration for whom the principles of rejecting science and being destructive dictate national policy. He pointed to the House-passed bill protecting the Arctic Refuge, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has ignored.

“Republicans talked a big game about leasing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge thoughtfully and carefully when they attached it to their 2017 tax scam bill, but the Trump administration has shown how meaningless those promises were from the beginning,” Grijalva said. “Oil and gas companies are closing wells to keep prices up, the Arctic is literally on fire due to climate change, millions of Americans are facing foreclosure, and unemployment is the worst we’ve seen since the Great Depression – and the president’s bizarre version of economic relief is to give Big Oil full access to a wilderness where the Gwich’in community needs healthy caribou for survival. Anyone who cares about the fate of our country and our planet should reject not just this announcement, but the spiteful, selfish philosophy that got us to this sorry place.”

The House of Representatives passed Rep. Jared Huffman’s (D-Calif.) Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act (H.R. 1146) on Sept. 12, 2019, which would reverse the 2017 tax bill’s provision to lease the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas companies. The Republican-controlled Senate has taken no action on the bill, and Senate Republicans have said nothing critical of the administration’s announcement today.

Mainstream analysts reject industry job estimates and revenue projections for drilling in the Arctic Refuge, which are often based on outdated figures and colored by rosy projections.

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