Sep 13, 2019
The House of Representatives voted Thursday to block the Trump administration from opening up Alaska’s ANWR — the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — to oil and gas exploration. The bill had the support of Native Alaskans who depend on migrating caribou herds for their subsistence. Members of the Gwich’in Steering Committee traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to lobby for the drilling ban. They said in a statement, “The Gwich’in and caribou have had a spiritual and cultural connection since time immemorial, the future of caribou and the future of the Gwich’in are the same. Harm to the caribou is harm to the Gwich’in way of life.” A companion bill to ban drilling in ANWR is not expected to pass the Republican-controlled Senate. This comes as the Trump administration has announced its final plan to offer oil and gas lease sales across more than a million-and-a-half acres of ANWR’s coastal plains. The plan calls for the creation of landing strips, drill pads, pipeline supports, a seawater treatment plant, 175 miles of roads, and other infrastructure in pristine wilderness along Alaska’s north coast.