Quantcast

ANWR Drilling Effort Hits Snag: 'This Is What Happens When You Sneak Drilling Into a Terrible Tax Bill'

Popular
Alaska Department of Natural Resources

The backdoor Arctic refuge drilling provision snuck in the Senate Republican's tax reform plan could be held up thanks to a little-known procedural rule.

The Republican-led effort to open the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and natural gas drilling could violate the Byrd Rule, which outlines what can be included in the Senate's budgetary legislation.


According to the Associated Press:

"Senate Democrats objected to the provision opening a portion of the remote refuge to oil drilling, saying measures to fast-track environmental approvals violate a rule designed to limit budget legislation to provisions that are mainly fiscal in nature. Congressional aides say the Senate parliamentarian has signaled agreement with Democrats, which could force Republicans to secure 60 votes for drilling, instead of 50 needed for the tax bill."

The fate of the bill is now unclear but environmental groups cheered the news.

Tiernan Sittenfeld of the League of Conservation Voters told the AP that the procedural hiccup "is what happens when you cut corners and try to sneak drilling into an already terrible tax bill."

The drilling provision was introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and has worked for most of her career to allow drilling in the refuge.

Conservatives have sought for decades to open up parts of the refuge to create jobs and boost the energy sector. They have targeted the so-called 1002 area on the Prudhoe Bay in Northern Alaska, which has an estimated 12 billion barrels of recoverable crude.

Murkowski called the 1002 a "non wilderness area" since the government set it aside for petroleum exploration decades ago.

However, the targeted area hosts migratory bird species and endangered wildlife and is considered to be sacred to the indigenous Gwich'in people, who sustain themselves from the caribou that migrate there.

Regardless of the potential setback, Murkowski endorsed the tax overhaul on Wednesday.

"Of course, the bill also includes a title that I am proud to have written, to open a small portion of the non-wilderness 1002 Area in ANWR in northeast Alaska to responsible energy production," she said.

"We still have work to do on this legislation and I look forward to the debate on the Senate floor and my colleagues' ideas to further improve it."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sam Cooper

By Sam Cooper

Thomas Edison once said, "I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power!"

Read More Show Less
A NOAA research vessel at a Taylor Energy production site in the Gulf of Mexico in September 2018. NOAA

The federal government is looking into the details from the longest running oil spill in U.S. history, and it's looking far worse than the oil rig owner let on, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Zero Waste Kitchen Essentials

Simple swaps that cut down on kitchen trash.

Sponsored

By Kayla Robbins

Along with the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most daunting areas to try and make zero waste.

Read More Show Less
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
Damage at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge from the 2016 occupation. USFWS

By Tara Lohan

When armed militants with a grudge against the federal government seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon back in the winter of 2016, I remember avoiding the news coverage. Part of me wanted to know what was happening, but each report I read — as the occupation stretched from days to weeks and the destruction grew — made me so angry it was hard to keep reading.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Computer model projection of temperature anomalies across Europe on June 27. Temperature scale in °C. Tropicaltidbits.com

A searing heat wave has begun to spread across Europe, with Germany, France and Belgium experiencing extreme temperatures that are set to continue in the coming days.

Read More Show Less
Skull morphology of hybrid "narluga" whale. Nature / Mikkel Høegh Post

In the 1980s, a Greenlandic subsistence hunter shot and killed a whale with bizarre features unlike any he had ever seen before. He knew something was unique about it, so he left its abnormally large skull on top of his toolshed where it rested until a visiting professor happened upon it a few years later.

Read More Show Less
A house under construction with plastic bottles filled with sand to build shelters that better withstand the climate of the country where temperatures reach up to 50° C Awserd in the Saharawi refugee camp Dakhla on Dec. 31, 2018 in Tindouf, Algeria. Stefano Montesi / Corbis / Getty Images

A UN expert painted a bleak picture Tuesday of how the climate crisis could impact global inequality and human rights, leading to a "climate apartheid" in which the rich pay to flee the consequences while the rest are left behind.

Read More Show Less