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ANWR protection heads to U.S. Senate

Members of the Gwich'in Steering Committee are in Washington this week as a bill to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is introduced in the Senate. Photo: Twitter.

The Arctic Refuge Protection Act would designate the coastal plain as a wilderness area, and protect the region from oil and gas leasing and development.

A bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The bill introduced Wednesday was co-sponsored by six senators and is called the Arctic Refuge Protection Act.

The act would protect the over 6,300 square kilometre coastal plain from oil and gas leasing and development.

The area is home to the calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou Herd, which the Gwich'in people---including the Vuntit Gwitchin in Old Crow--have depended on for generations.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Tom Udall. (D-N.M.) 

Senator Cantwell from Washington State writes on social media the refuge is a national treasure which must be preserved for future generations.

ANWR was included for oil and gas development in a 2017 Tax and Jobs bill by the Trump administration, prompting pushback from the Gwich'in, and environmental groups.

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