House Takes Historic Vote on Rep. Huffman’s Amendment to Protect Arctic Refuge, Receives Bipartisan Support

February 26, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) took action to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as the House voted on his amendment to designate the Coastal Plain of the refuge as wilderness, thus offering much needed protections from oil and gas drilling. Earlier this year, the Obama administration proposed new wilderness protections in the refuge, but ultimately the real power to create a wilderness area and protect the region lies in Congress’ hands.  In response to the historic vote, which received significant bipartisan support and was the first time Congress has ever voted on the proposal, Congressman Huffman released the following statement:                                               

“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska is one of those uniquely American places, and we must do our due diligence to protect this one of a kind national treasure from the dangerous effects of drilling,” said Rep. Huffman. “By designating this area as wilderness, we can finally recognize the intrinsic value that this land holds. As Edward Abbey said, the idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders. I thank my colleagues who stood up today as defenders of wilderness and voted for my amendment.”


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Huffman’s amendment, which was defeated 176-226 with nine Republicans crossing the aisle to support, was based on his Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act, H.R. 239, bipartisan legislation he introduced with Rep. Fitzpatrick (R-PA) that would designate the 1.5 million-acre Coastal Plain as wilderness. That bipartisan legislation would codify into law President Obama’s proposal for permanent protections from damaging activities like oil drilling.