Cantwell Statement on Cancellation of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Drilling Leases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), released this statement following the Biden Administration’s announcement of the cancellation of oil and gas leases on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“The Biden Administration is doing the right thing preserving one of America’s greatest remaining pristine ecosystems for the benefit of future generations, Indigenous communities, and our shared climate,” said Sen. Cantwell. “Today’s decision overturns the Trump Administration’ last minute attempt to circumvent environmental laws and jam through drilling in the pristine Arctic Refuge. Now we need to permanently protect these irreplaceable areas and facilitate new economic opportunities based on preserving America’s pristine public lands for outdoor recreation.”

Senator Cantwell has been the leading congressional champion of protecting fragile Arctic ecosystems, including preservation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

She repeatedly fought back against the Trump administration’s efforts to roll-back protections for the pristine wilderness and 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 that would have allowed drilling in the Refuge.