GOP Plan: Arctic Refuge Oil Exploitation To Fund Tax Cuts For The Rich

artic national wildlife refuge anwr oil drilling
Sow and cub Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

If you’re looking for an environmentally destructive way to sell out the country to corporate interests, look no further than the GOP tax reform plan. In order to pay for their massive tax-cuts-for-the-rich scheme, Senate Republicans may be planning to exploit the natural resources there, selling oil drilling leases in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Energy and Natural Resources Committee member Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said:

With another Republican Congress comes another attempt to turn over this iconic national wildlife refuge to the oil and gas industry. Fortunately, all previous attempts to destroy this pristine arctic ecosystem have failed and I’m going to fight tooth and nail until this attempt fails too.

Republicans have been after ANWR on behalf of their Big Oil buddies for decades. Now they’re using tax reform as an excuse to raise $1 billion from the sale of oil drilling leases; money they need to offset their deficit-busting tax cut plan. As the Daily Kos so aptly points out, “The reason they need to “raise $1 billion dollars” is so they can give it to people with billions of dollars. Just remember that.”

Inside Climate News reports:

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is considered one of the last truly wild places in the United States. Its 19.6 million acres were first protected by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1960, and a subsequent wilderness designation protects all but 1.5 million acres. That remaining acreage—called the coastal plain—has been disputed for decades.

All that unspoiled land could be destroyed if Republicans manage to corral the necessary 50 votes through the reconciliation process to whore themselves out to oil companies.

What makes this so reprehensible is the fact that no one is really sure how much oil can actually be sucked out of the ground in ANWR. David Houseknecht of the US Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia, told Alaska Public Media, “There is a lot of uncertainty about whether or not the resources are present and whether or not the resources are of sufficient size to be deemed technically recoverable.”

Risking the destruction of one of the last unpolluted places on earth is not something you can put a price tag on. Unless you’re a Republican looking for money to pay for tax cuts for the rich.

Be part of the solution. Call Congress at (202) 224-3121, or contact your representative online at and

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Tobin is a political junkie and animal rights advocate who believes that if people can stand on line to buy junk food, they should also be able to stand on line to vote. Tobin is the author of "Afterlife: The Journey of a Dog's Spirit" now available on

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