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The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are currently working to finalize a bill that would give tax cuts to the wealthy; cost the American public between $1.0 trillion and $1.4 trillion; and sell out the country’s last great wilderness to the oil industry. Tucked into the tax bill is a rider, authored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

The Arctic Refuge was originally set aside in 1960 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower with the intent of “preserving unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values.” In 1980, Congress passed legislation, called the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, that expanded the Arctic Refuge and further clarified that the lands are to be managed for four purposes, stated below:

To conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity
To fulfill the international fish and wildlife treaty obligations of the United States
To provide the opportunity for continued subsistence uses by local residents
To ensure water quality and necessary quantity within the refuge

Measuring the Loss of American Wildlife if the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Is Drilled – Center for American Progress

One-third of polar bear denning habitat in the United States is located in the area that the tax bill would convert to an industrial oil field.


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