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‘Simply Shameful’: GOP Tax Bill Slammed For Allowing Drilling In Arctic Wildlife Refuge

Environmental scientists from the National Audubon Society slammed the Senate GOP tax bill for allowing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for the first time in history, calling the bill “simply shameful.”

“Opening the Arctic to drilling as part of this tax plan is simply shameful. The Arctic Refuge isn’t a bank—drilling there won’t pay for the tax cuts the Senate just passed,” Audubon President David Yarnold said in a statement released Saturday. “The American people don’t support drilling in the Arctic and it’s up to the House to reject this flawed bill.

Democrats attempted to stop the provision in a late-night amendment vote, but failed when it was shot down by Senate Republicans.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) argued that the provision would create jobs as well as “protect an environment that as Alaskans we know how to protect.”

But the Audubon Society shot down that claim, citing dozens of Arctic wildlife scientists who united in opposition to the drilling expansion last week.

“By making oil and gas drilling a primary purpose of the wildlife refuge and mandating an 800,000-acre oil and gas program, Senator Murkowski’s bill effectively undermines the environmental and wildlife protections that typically apply to oil and gas development on federal lands,” the group said.

The Senate passed the bill just before 2 a.m. Saturday, voting 51-49 on the legislation to overhaul the tax code and capping off days of GOP leaders frantically working to secure the necessary 50 votes to pass the bill.

The bill would also repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate as well as the opening of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

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