U.S. House inches toward drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Capitol building, where the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives meet. (Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images)
A budget blueprint in the U.S. House is reviving hopes for Alaskans who want to see the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge open to oil drilling.

The budget plan does not actually discuss the Arctic refuge, in Alaska’s far Northeast. It calls on the House Natural Resources Committee to find $5 billion in cuts or revenues over a decade.

Environmental groups are sounding the alarm, saying that’s a back-handed way of directing the committee to put ANWR lease revenues in the budget package.

Matt Shuckerow, spokesman for Rep. Don Young, said that’s the congressman’s take on it, too.

Less votes needed

Alaska’s Congressional delegation has been trying for decades to open the so-called 1002 area of the refuge. Adding it to the budget would be a way to get the legislation through the Senate with just 51 votes, rather than the usual 60.

The proposal, though, remains controversial in the Senate, where even some Republicans oppose the idea.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Arctic offshore drilling too dangerous: Trudeau, Radio Canada International

Finland: U.S. pullout from Paris climate pact condemned by Finnish leaders, Yle News

Germany: Cheap oil from the Arctic? Fake news, says climate economist Kemfert, blog by Irene Quaile, Deutsche Welle

Norway: Norway offers oil companies 93 new blocks in Arctic waters, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Record oil volumes shipped out of Russian Arctic, says company, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedish government unveils new climate law, Radio Sweden

United States: Drilling in Arctic Refuge to close deficit? Let’s be real., blog by Mia Bennett

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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