The Senate voted today to ignore public opinion and the public interest, and approve oil exploration in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The 52-47 vote approved the Senate version of a budget reconciliation bill loaded with controversial measures, including Arctic oil drilling, which could scuttle the bill in the House.
"Sacrificing the Arctic refuge is a bad deal for America. If Congress decides to allow Arctic drilling, it would only reduce gas prices by a penny – and not until the year 2025," said Sarah Wilhoite, legislative associate for Earthjustice. "Meanwhile, we'd still be importing the vast majority of our oil, and we'd have an industrial wasteland where a wildlife refuge used to be."
"Drilling proponents couldn't pass this misguided measure in a stand-alone bill, so they chose to abuse the budget process instead – and the Senate let them do it," Wilhoite added. "Luckily, the House still has a chance to block this legislation."
House leadership expects to bring their version of the budget reconciliation bill to the floor next week. A significant number of Republicans in the House of Representatives have spoken out in opposition to Arctic Refuge drilling in the budget bill, casting serious doubt on whether a bill with Arctic drilling in it can pass the House at all.