Bad news: Senate Republican vote could mean Arctic drilling

The outdoor industry isn’t happy with a vote than can disturb the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
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Republicans voted against a Senate budget amendment Thursday that now opens the possibility of fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska. The amendment would have protected the 19.3 million-acre Alaskan Arctic but was voted down 52 to 48.

Gareth Martins, a board member of the Alaska Wilderness League, provides more detail on the fight to save ANWR.

“This move by the Senate poses a grave threat to the Arctic Refuge, and Americans should be outraged at the shameless hijacking of the federal budget process,” Wilderness Society president Jamie Williams said, in a statement.

“This fight is far from over. Now is the time for Americans across the country to speak out. Congress cannot sneak this through the back door when they think nobody is looking. The Arctic Refuge is simply too fragile and special to drill, and we have a moral obligation to protect it for future generations of Americans,” Williams said.

Sam Mix, Conduit of Corporate Outreach with Colorado-based Osprey Packs, is one of the 100 Colorado outdoor businesses who have been pressuring Senator Gardner to Protect the Arctic. Gardner boasts his work to protect our public lands and how he is a strong public lands supporter.

“Companies in the outdoor industry have been pleased by Senator Gardner’s public statements and action to support the outdoor recreation economy, but he must also actively protect the public lands where we recreate,” he said. “Protection of public lands is vital not only for the health of our ecosystems, but for the outdoor industry, which generates more than $28 billion annually in consumer spending in Colorado.”

But not everyone is upset at the decision. Alaska’s own senator, Dan Sullivan, is pleased at the move, praising it as a sign his state is getting closer to developing an area that has been shut off for years.

“More American energy production means more good-paying jobs, increased economv growth, and a stronger national security,” he said, in a statement.

There’s no doubt that environmentalists will continue to fight.

Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaskan Wilderness League said in a statement that the vote is a wakeup call for all Americans. “Americans have fought for decades to protect this last remaining truly wild landscape, and are rallying today because they believe in taking action on climate change and want to defend the rights of the Native Gwich’in people.”