Sen. Markey has sponsored legislation since 2001 to designate the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge as wilderness
Washington (January 25, 2015) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement on the announcement of the Obama administration’s plans to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is an exceptional part of America, worthy of the highest level of protection as wilderness. Its pristine landscape, ecological integrity, wildlife, recreational opportunities, and Alaska Native cultural and subsistence values are unmatched.
“President Eisenhower first protected the area in 1960. Action is long overdue to conclude his visionary action.
“I have long advocated for wilderness designation for this special refuge, and I am pleased to see Director Ashe and Secretary Jewell recommending that level of protection for it in the new Comprehensive Conservation Plan. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance the Congressional action needed to fully protect the Arctic Refuge forever.
“The Arctic Refuge has been denied the full protection it deserves by oil interests hopeful that they could drill for oil there at some distant day in the future. Now that the oil industry and their allies in Congress are advocating for the elimination of the ban on exporting American oil abroad, I see no reason to withhold wilderness protection for the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge.”
In 2011, Senator Markey led a letter, with then-Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), signed by more than 70 of their colleagues in the House and Senate that pushed the Interior Department to protect the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from damaging oil and gas exploration by recommending its designation as a wilderness area.
In 2013, Senator Markey and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) wrote to Interior Secretary Jewell asking that she finalize the Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and include a recommendation that the pristine coastal plain be designated as wilderness.