The House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, has inserted a provision in a budget reconciliation bill that could take the 10-02 area of ANWR off the table for drilling.
In 2017, the U.S. House and Senate passed budget resolutions allowed drilling in the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by making it part of paying for a $1.1 trillion budget for fiscal year 2018.
This new provision basically reverses that in budgetary terms.
The reconciliation bill is expected in the Senate this week, where it will be up to Sen. Lisa Murkowski to convince Sen. Joe Manchin, now the chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, to strip the provision. Murkowski has a good relationship with Manchin, who is a moderate Democrat.
Alaska’s congressional delegation has worked to open ANWR for decades, to be stopped by administrations that were both Democrat and Republican. That is, until President Donald Trump made the 10-02 area a priority for Alaska and signed the bill.
Leases for the area were auctioned in January, and the State of Alaska’s Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority now holds $12 million in winning bids, of the $14.4 million awarded.