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Rep. Don Young offered a vehement rebuttal this week against a move by House Democrats to repeal provisions for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling, questioning the authenticity of Alaska Native drilling opponents and seemingly challenging one of the bill’s sponsors to a fight.
The heated exchanges took place Tuesday, during a meeting of House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources regarding the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act.That measure, co-sponsored by committee member Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., and backed by more than 100 House members, would remove the path to ANWR drilling included as part of a GOP tax bill narrowly passed in late 2017.
The House, which Democrats seized control of during the November elections, has become one venue among several for opposition to ANWR drilling. After the December release ofa draft environmental impact statement for drilling in the 1002 area of the refuge’s coastal plain, hundreds of scientists — including dozens of Alaskans —sent a letter to the Trump administration criticizing that statement as inadequate. At a final public comment hearing on the draft statement in February, drilling opponents questioned the plan's effects on Kaktovik but the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. backed the process which generated the statement.