Environmentalists and their minions in Congress are grinding their teeth today at the successful inclusion of an Arctic National Wildlife Refuge oil development provision in the sweeping Republican tax reform legislation recently signed into law.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, repeatedly over the years had offered legislation to open a tiny slice of ANWR only to be thwarted again and again by Democrats. This time, she and the rest of Alaska’s delegation knocked it out of the park.
Despite the success, Alaskans should know it is only a first step and be prepared for a scorched-earth fight from those who, for decades, have managed to short-circuit attempts to develop the refuge’s wind-blown 1.5-million-acre coastal plain. In their view, the 11 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil believed pooled beneath the refuge’s barren tundra should stay put.