Earlier this year, Senator Markey introduced legislation to permanently protect the Arctic Refuge
Washington (June 1, 2021) – Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) applauded the Biden administration’s announcement that it plans to suspend all oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge pending a new environmental analysis. This announcement follows President Biden’s January 20 executive order that imposed a temporary moratorium on oil and gas activity in the Arctic Refuge. Earlier this year, Senator Markey reintroduced the Arctic Refuge Protection Act (S. 282), legislation to restore protections to the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain and prevent harmful oil and gas exploration and development activities from taking place in the Refuge.
“Today’s decision is an important step towards safeguarding the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, protecting the people and species who depend upon this invaluable wild place, and avoiding unnecessary climate and environmental harm,” said Senator Markey. “The Refuge needs more than this pause, it needs permanent protection. A new analysis will tell us what we already know, that the Refuge is a special place and should never be opened up to drilling. I remain committed to passing my Arctic Refuge Protection Act and permanently protecting this the unique and vulnerable habitat from oil and gas leasing and development.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
On February 4, 2021, Senator Markey was joined by Congressman Jared Huffman (CA-02) and 27 of his Senate colleagues in introducing the Arctic Refuge Protection Act (S. 282). This legislation would permanently protect the region by designating the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness under the National Wilderness Preservation System, while also safeguarding the subsistence rights of the Arctic Indigenous Peoples. This bill builds upon the work of Adam Kolton, a lifelong champion of protecting the Arctic Refuge, and other advocates who have fought tirelessly to safeguard one of our nation’s greatest treasures. 
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge covers 19.6 million acres and is the largest unit in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The 1.56 million-acre Coastal Plain, the biological heart of the Refuge, contains the calving grounds for the Porcupine caribou herd and is home to denning polar bears, musk oxen, wolves, and more than 150 species of migratory birds. The Gwich’in Nation, living in Alaska and Canada and 9,000 strong, make their home on or near the migratory route of the Porcupine caribou herd, and have depended on this herd for their subsistence and culture for thousands of years.