Audubon Advisory

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Peril as Final Tax Vote Looms

Audubon and the conservation community have defended the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for decades from the threat of oil drilling, but now Congress is on the precipice of opening the Arctic Refuge to drilling as it votes on the final tax bill.

House and Senate negotiations on a final tax bill are reportedly on the verge of being finalized, and compromise legislation is expected to emerge soon and receive a final vote in the House and Senate. Depending on the outcome of these negotiations, the final tax bill could open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, threatening millions of birds, other wildlife, and people that have long depended on the Arctic Refuge.

The Arctic Refuge is one of our nation’s most important bird nurseries—millions of birds depend on the refuge, and migrate through every state in order to nest and raise their chicks on its coastal plain. Turning this habitat into an oilfield would devastate their nesting ground. There’s simply no justification for it.

Earlier this month, the Senate voted to drill in the Arctic Refuge as part of their tax bill. The Senate vote followed an earlier vote in the House on a tax bill (HR 1), which did not contain Arctic Refuge drilling. Members of the House and Senate were appointed to a conference committee to work out the differences between these bills and agree to one version. One issue between the two versions is the section that opens the Arctic Refuge to drilling. Numerous House Republicans have already expressed concern about drilling in the refuge as part of the tax process.

Audubon, supporters like you, and our partners have worked tirelessly to protect the Arctic Refuge for more than 50 years, and the coming days are some of the most important in the history of this fight. Because it has never been permanently protected as Wilderness, the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has always been threatened by the possibility that Congress could open it to oil drilling.

The House and Senate are expected to vote on the final bill in the coming days. You can help by placing a quick call to your U.S. Representative through our action center by clicking here, and asking your friends, family, and network to do the same during this critical period of time. 

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