Washington, D.C. October 5, 2017 – In two separate votes today, the House of Representatives and the Senate Budget Committee are expected to decide on budget resolutions that will pave the way for oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Arctic Refuge is one of our nation’s most wild and iconic landscapes. The majority of Americans want the pristine lands within this publicly owned territory to be protected as wilderness, not handed over to the oil industry. According to recent public opinion research commissioned by the Center for American Progress, two-thirds of Americans are opposed to drilling in the Arctic Refuge, while 52 percent are “strongly opposed.”

The following is a statement from Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen:

“Drilling in the Arctic Refuge is not a budget issue, and should not be part of the budget reconciliation process. This is a blatant attempt to use the budget reconciliation process to pass a divisive and controversial proposal that the majority of Americans oppose.

“Arctic Refuge drilling has no place in legislation that should be used to fund the agencies and programs that protect our air, water, health and climate. Other special, wild lands in Alaska’s Western Arctic, our oceans, and public lands near parks and monuments could also be at risk if drilling is used to balance this dirty budget. Sacrificing our public lands and waters to profit the oil and gas industry and pay for tax breaks for billionaires is both environmentally and fiscally irresponsible.”