June 18, 2018

Wyden, Merkley Warn Secretary Zinke Not to Skirt Environmental Laws with Plan to Drill in Arctic

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined 28 of their Senate colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary Zinke in response to the Department of the Interior’s notice it will begin an Environmental Impact Statement for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The letter, sent in response to Interior’s plan to move forward with drilling, demands that any actions taken in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge be in full compliance with environmental laws in order to preserve wildlife and local habitats

There has been bipartisan commitment to protect the Coastal Plain of America’s most iconic national wildlife refuge for more than half a century, even predating the Eisenhower Administration’s establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Range in 1960 to protect the area’s “unique wildlife, wilderness, and recreational values,” the senators wrote. “Given the long history of the efforts to recognize the international importance of the Refuge and to protect its unique wildlife and wilderness values, we are concerned that the Department of the Interior will now seek to expedite the planning and environmental review process for an oil and gas program in the Refuge.”

Wyden and Merkley were joined by the following senators in signing on to the letter: Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., Edward Markey, D-Mass., Tom Carper, D-Del., Tom Udall, D-N.M., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Maggie Hassan , D-N.H., Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Christopher Coons, D-Del., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Cory Booker, D-N.J.,  Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. and Gary Peters, D-Mich.

The full letter can be found here