WASHINGTON — The Democratic-controlled House on Thursday voted to reinstate a decades-long ban on oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — a largely symbolic move aimed at reversing a plan by President Donald Trump to drill in the pristine refuge. The 225-193 vote comes as the Trump administration has begun planning to sell oil and gas leases in the remote refuge, home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other species. An environmental impact analysis could be released soon. The drilling was authorized under a 2017 tax cut approved by the Republican-controlled Congress, an action the House vote attempts to undo. The bill now goes to the GOP-controlled Senate, where action is unlikely. Trump has vowed to veto the bill if it reaches his desk. The bill’s Democratic sponsor, Rep. Jared Huffman of California, said there are “some places too wild, too important, too special to be spoiled by oil and gas development. The Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain is one of those special places.” But Republicans, including all three members of Alaska’s congressional delegation, said drilling can be done safely with modern techniques and would decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil and create jobs for Alaskans…. Read full this story
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