WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a long-time leading congressional opponent of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), released the following statement criticizing the Trump administration’s efforts to fast-track drilling that could damage ANWR’s pristine wilderness and fragile ecosystems before the November election:
“The Arctic is melting, oil markets are crashing, and polar bears are becoming extinct, but instead of focusing on the clean energy future and the millions of new jobs it will create, President Trump’s answer is to fast-track destruction of one of the most unique and fragile ecosystems on the planet. When it comes to protecting our public lands, the administration’s record shows over and over where his priorities lie – with special interests and Big Oil, not the American people. The future of the Arctic is in tourism – what the President doesn’t fully grasp is that we are an Arctic nation and that with new sea routes opening up the real value of this land is conservation, not exploitation.”
Throughout her time in the Senate, Cantwell has been the leading congressional champion of ANWR and repeatedly fought back against efforts to drill in the pristine wilderness. Last September, Cantwell introduced legislation to permanently protect the refuge from oil and gas drilling. She has repeatedly voiced support for protecting the refuge and has cosponsored multiple bills to designate its coastal plain as a wilderness area. In December of 2005, Cantwell led a historic filibuster that reversed a backdoor maneuver in the Senate to allow drilling in the refuge.