Arctic national wildlife refuge
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is a 19 million acre wildlife refuge located on the coastal plain of Alaska’s North Slope. Environmentalists say that ANWR is one of the last pristine wilderness areas remaining on Earth and claim this extraordinary and untouched ecosystem must be protected forever. Wildlife such as polar, black and grizzly bears, caribou, Dall sheep, seabirds and golden eagles all call ANWR home. Advocates say that ANWR is our only conservation area with a complete range of arctic ecosystems including coast, tundra, mountains, and taiga and boreal forests. It also boasts a network of 18 major rivers, two of our largest lakes and warm springs that support a variety of plant species unique to the Arctic region. The question of whether to drill for oil in this preserve has been an ongoing controversy for over 30 years. What is not controversial is the amount of oil that lies beneath this refuge. Estimates show that ANWWR contains about 10 billion barrels of recoverable oil and could yield more than 800 million barrels of oil per year. This amount is about 40% of our 2008 domestic oil production and easily exceeds the amount of oil we import from Saudi Arabia. Environmentalists say this must be weighed against the potential harm oil extraction might have upon ANWR’s environment and wildlife. Of particular concern are the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou where 40,000 caribou calves are birthed and nursed each year. Advocates claim environmental damage will occur not only during drilling operations, but when storing and transporting oil, disposing of wastes, and by constructing roads, buildings, airstrips and ports - to say nothing of the potential for oil spills. Drilling proponents counter that great precautions were taken to protect the environment and wildlife during the construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. They claim most environmentalists thought caribou populations would suffer by building this mammoth project. However, studies show the opposite occurred as caribou thrived in the heat radiating from the pipeline. Environmentalists disagree with industry representatives who say that oil can be safely extracted from ANWR in a way that does not destroy its beauty.

Pending Legislation:
H.R.339 - American Energy Independence and Price Reduction Act
H.R.239 - Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act

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Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

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