Washington, D.C. — Today, the House of Representatives is voting on a tax bill that would open America’s unspoiled Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling and maintain billions in tax breaks for fossil fuel producers. Environment Illinois issued the following statement in response:
“With all the back and forth on who this tax bill benefits, the environment is the clear loser, with calamitous consequences for all Americans. The Congress is voting on handing over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling. And this bill keeps massive subsidies for fossil fuel production in place. After months of global warming-fueled extreme weather and wildfires, and decades of air and water pollution from burning coal, oil and gas, it has never been more important to shift our country — wholesale and quickly — toward renewable energy. This bill takes us in the wrong direction.
The bill opens up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of the last truly wild places on earth, to irreversible damage from oil and gas drilling. The Refuge supports caribou, polar bears, black and grizzly bears, arctic foxes, moose, muskoxen and more than 200 species of migratory birds. Opening this rugged wilderness to oil and gas drilling would not only blight a pristine landscape, it would threaten these creatures and the ecosystem with spills and pollution.
The bill also continues massive incentives for fossil fuel production amounting to tens of billions of dollars over the next decade. With no public debate or time for Americans to respond, this bill threatens the keys to a livable future for our children and grandchildren.
It’s time for our representatives to reject this bill to help ensure a cleaner, healthier future for our state, and to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of the places that makes all of the United States great.”