Seattle council votes to withhold business from oil companies that explore Arctic Refuge

A view of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Getty Images)
The Seattle City Council voted Monday to avoid doing business with any company that that leases land in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to explore for oil.

Council Member Mike O’Brien sponsored the resolution.

“The attempt here to make it clear to anyone attempting to do business up there,” said O’Brien, who represents the Fremont neighborhood, near the University of Washington. “We will be certainly trying to figure out how to prevent those leases from going forward, but we want to make sure that nobody shows up to buy the land because it is understood that the social license to drill in the Arctic has now been removed by the American people.”

The U.S. House and Senate voted in the 2017 tax bill to allow oil exploration and lease sales in the refuge. That’s been a goal of Alaska’s congressional delegation for decades. It’s also a priority of President Trump’s Interior secretary. The Interior Department is working to hold the first ANWR lease sale before the end of the year.

Royal Dutch Shell’s Polar Pioneer drilling platform in Seattle on June 15, 2015. (Sy Bean/The Seattle Times via AP)

The Seattle City Council took a voice vote on the proposed ANWR boycott, with no audible opposition.

O’Brien is on the board of the Sierra Club. Several environmental groups have been campaigning to pressure corporations to steer clear of the Arctic Refuge.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Ottawa’s new Arctic framework has lofty goals but few details, critics say, CBC News

Norway: LNG-reloading operations end in Norway’s Arctic waters, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Putin wants to boost Russia’s Arctic gas exports to China, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden’s small wind farms reducing energy production, Radio Sweden

United States: Planned drilling in ANWR: U.S. ignoring international caribou agreement, say Indigenous and territorial govs, CBC News

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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