ANWR Lock up Vote Defeated in House

ANWR Lock up Vote Defeated in House

Washington – February 26, 2016 An amendment to lock up the coastal plain of ANWR (H.Amdt.961) was introduced by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA-2) to The SHARE Act (HR. 2406) on hunting and game regulation.  The amendment was defeated by 51 votes in a roll call vote ending at 176-277.  H.Amdt. 961 was offered by Huffman and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania (R-8).  The amendment would declare the 10-02 Coastal Plain area of ANWR as “Wilderness” as defined in the 1964 Wilderness Act.  In doing so the area would have the highest protection from human interference and would be off limits to all use except limited hiking.  The 10-02 Area was recommended to be opened by the Dept. of Interior in 1987 after exhaustive 6 years of study by over a dozen federal agencies.  The USGS states the area has the highest prospect for a super giant oil field on the North American continent.  USGS estimates a mean average of 10.4 bbls. of oil. In January 2015 the current Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell recommended to President Obama to declare the entire refuge including the 10-02 as Wilderness, effectively locking it up forever.  Huffman’s amendment was in reaction to this decree.

Over the past 30 years votes on ANWR have generally always been in favor of development with the House voting 12 times successfully for development and the Senate voting 3 times to develop.  Only once have both bodies voted together to pass pro-development legislation in 1995 only to be vetoed by then President Clinton who stated “it would take ten years to develop”…and thus was not worth it. 

In his debate comments Huffman, who has visited the current “Wilderness” area of ANWR last year, but not the coastal plain area covered in his bill, stated Alaskans “showed overwhelming support” for wilderness designation.  The statement is completely false considering over 78% of Alaskan’s support development in the last poll on the issue.  Officially 100% of the 60 member Alaska State Legislature and every single Governor and Congressional delegate Alaska has ever elected have unequivocally supported development in the 10-02.  Alaska’s sole representative Don Young, currently the longest serving member of the House, corrected Huffman on his error and went on to attack his rational for the bill. 

Sadly and ironically to Alaskans party line voting persists on ANWR with Democrats against development and Republicans in favor.  In Alaska 100% of the Alaska State Legislature support development and in the past decade only one democrat, no longer in power, has been against it.  In Alaska the issue is completely non-partisan and based purely on its merits as a sensible and careful use of land.  It is hard to imagine the people of Alaska and their elected officials are all wrong on this issue and that the likes of Huffman from far away California are somehow correct.  This is especially true given the dozens of resolutions passed in the State of Alaska over the past 30 years in support of development and the 15 successful Congressional votes in favor of development.

Nine Republicans: Clawson (FL), Dold, Gibson, Hurt (VA), LoBiondo, Paulsen, Reichert, Royce, Smith (NJ), voted in favor of the measure.

Three Democrats: Bishop (GA), Costa, Peterson, voted against the amendment. 

30 members did not vote.  12 R, 18 D

You can view the bill and its statistics here:

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/114th-congress/house-amendment/961/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22arctic+national+wildlife+refuge%22%5D%7D&resultIndex=20