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US tax bill includes drilling in Alaska's Wildlife Refuge

allows energy exploration in 1.5 million acres

1 - 3 of 3 posts


robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
1 3 Dec 2017
https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/dec/2/oil-drilling-anwr-moves-ahead-part-senate-tax-bill/

Republicans took a major step forward early Saturday in their decades-long fight to open a piece of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Included as part of the sweeping tax reform bill passed by the Senate in a 51-to-49 vote is a highly controversial provision to allow energy exploration in a 1.5 million-acre swath of ANWR known as the “1002 area,” which lies along the coast. In total, ANWR spans more than 19 million acres.

The drilling provision was seen as key to getting Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, on board with the tax bill.

“Opening the 1002 Area and tax reform both stand on their own, but combining them into the same bill, and then successfully passing that bill, makes this a great day to be an Alaskan,” she said in a statement after the measures passed. “I thank all of the senators who spent time learning about our opportunities and needs, and who joined us tonight in voting for Alaska. We are grateful for their support and eager to take the next steps for this pro-jobs, pro-growth, and pro-energy legislation.”

Drilling in ANWR has become of the most high-profile fights in history between energy advocates and environmentalists. Those who favor oil drilling say only a small portion of the pristine area will be affected, and that exploration can be done safely; environmentalists maintain that opening any piece of ANWR to drilling sets a dangerous precedent, and they contend that an ecologically disastrous spill is inevitable.
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robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
2 3 Dec 2017
PLUS!
https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/nov/29/trump-announce-reductions-bears-ears-grand-stairca/

President Trump will visit Utah next week and reportedly announce his approval of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recommendation that two national monuments be shrunk.

Citing “sources familiar with the trip,” the Salt Lake City Tribune reported Wednesday evening that Mr. Trump will reduce the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

Mr. Trump’s Monday visit was confirmed by the office of Sen. Orrin Hatch who, along with other Utah Republican lawmakers, had been asking Mr. Trump to undo some of the unilateral designations made by Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama under the federal Antiquities Act.

Those designations put those regions off-limits to energy and other development and many Western-state Republicans complained that they were made without local consultation and were an arbitrary exercise of power.

“I’m thrilled the president has accepted my invitation to come to Utah to discuss critical issues that matter to my constituents,” Mr. Hatch said in a statement.

The Tribune reported, citing Mr. Hatch’s office, that Mr. Trump told him “I’m approving the Bears Ears recommendation for you, Orrin.”

Environmentalists and Indian tribes vowed a lawsuit.

“The tribes view this as an affront to themselves and their own self-determination,” said Natalie Landreth, senior staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund. “All of us, all five tribes, will be suing jointly the day he makes an announcement.”
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robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
3 5 Dec 2017
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/04/trump-utah-monuments-map-bears-ears-grand-staircase-203201

President Donald Trump announced Monday that he is removing more than 2 million acres of protected territory from two national monuments in Utah, handing a political win to the state’s lawmakers but setting off more protests from environmentalists and outdoor sports groups.

"You know how best to conserve this land for many, many years to come," Trump told a phalanx of the state’s Republican lawmakers in Salt Lake City, as he took yet another swipe at the conservation legacies of former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton — and at regulators in Washington. "They don’t know your land and truly they don’t care for your land like you do. From now on that won’t matter."

The new borders would shrink the 1.353-million-acre Bears Ears down to about 201,400 acres and break it into two new monuments called Indian Creek and Shash Jaa. That would free up oil, natural gas and uranium deposits for possible extraction.

Trump would also cleave the nearly 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante monument into three parts, totaling 997,490 acres: Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits and Escalante Canyons. The move would free up protections over areas high in mineral resources.

Environmental groups and Native American tribes have vowed to tie up Trump’s move in courts. Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance plans to file a suit “within days, if not hours,” legal director Steve Bloch said.

“The general gist of the argument regarding both national monuments is that the Antiquities Act is a limited grant of authority from Congress to the president to establish national monuments,” Bloch said. “Nowhere in the act does Congress give the president the power to revoke or diminish national monuments, and by doing so the president is acting beyond his authority and unlawfully.”

The Navajo Nation also promised to fight Trump’s decision. The Navajos, who consider the Bears Ears monument of “critical importance” to the culture of many tribes in the region, said the White House ignored their requests to meet and discuss the issue.

“The decision to reduce the size of the Monument is being made with no tribal consultation,” Navajo President Russell Begaye said in a press release. “The reduction in the size of the monument leaves us no choice but to litigate this decision.”
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