Cantwell Statement on House Budget Proposal to Open Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Oil Drilling

Cantwell: “We need to protect the Arctic Refuge, not raid it for oil”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) responded to the House Republicans’ inclusion of provisions in their budget proposal for the coming year that would allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Cantwell released the following statement:

“I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the House Republican budget includes a proposal to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  We have seen this story before — every Republican Administration and every Republican-majority Congress has tried to turn over this iconic national wildlife refuge to the oil and gas industry. Fortunately, all previous proposals to destroy this pristine arctic ecosystem for the benefit of oil and gas companies have failed.  We need to protect the Arctic Refuge, not raid it for oil.

“If House Republicans insist on passing a partisan budget that includes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, I will do everything I can to ensure it meets the same fate in the Senate as their failed health care bill.”

Throughout her career in the Senate, Cantwell has been a leader in protecting the refuge from oil exploration and drilling. Since entering the Senate in 2001, she has cosponsored legislation multiple times to permanently protect the Arctic Refuge 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 Wildlife Refuge drilling. In 2013, Cantwell and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduced legislation that would have designated 1.56 million acres of land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness.