Senate tax bill proposes to allow drilling in Arctic wilderness region

A proposed Senate tax bill includes a proposal to open up over one million of acres within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling activities. The bill for oil drilling in this region was passed recently, by a marginal vote in favour of drilling activity.

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The area has been restricted to oil activities since 1980 due to major concerns about the impact it would have on the natural wildlife and surrounding ecosystem. However, the region is also regarded to have significant oil reserves, causing a massive conflict over opinions towards oil exploration. Up until now, any bid to drill in this region has been unsuccessful but governors have lobbied continuously in an effort to remove drilling bans, believing that drilling activity will improve the Alaskan economy and could add as much as $1 trillion to the national debt in Alaska.

The Republican senator, Dan Sullivan of Alaska is also behind the development plans, stating the region will require the best technology available to ensure the protection of the ecosystem.

Environmentalists strongly believe that any drilling activity will have a significant impact on the wildlife. If the proposed plans do go ahead, environmentalist believes they will happen at a cost to both the environment and wildlife.
Last month, over thirty scientists sent a letter to the Republican governor, Murkowski persuading her to ensure the current zone remains untouched from drilling activity. The scientists strongly oppose any development, believing any activity goes against the purpose of establishing a refuge, which essentially aims to conserve wildlife and habitats in their natural environment.
The further opposition has been felt by other government members who believe the proposal is ‘simply shameful’, suggesting that any drilling activity will not compensate for the recent tax cuts passed by the Senate.
Nothing yet has been confirmed, and further voting will be required before any solid plan is formed. However, the recent proposal has triggered a massive debate between environmentalists and oil exploration supporters over utilizing large reserves and its impact on the natural environment.

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