A Drilling Provision in the New Tax Overhaul Worries Environmental Activists

Dec 26, 2017

Congress also considered cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, but those were shot down by the region's senators including Ohio's Brown and Portman.
Credit Tim Rudell / WKSU

The federal tax overhaul Congress passed earlier this month includes a provision that has many environmental advocates concerned.

The tax bill included a provision that lifted the ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to rare species such as muskoxen, arctic wolves and caribou.

Collin O’Mara with the National Wildlife Federation says there’s popular support for protecting ANWR, and he fears Congress will start chipping away at environmental concerns through provisions in bigger bills.

“They can only pass under the cover of darkness, hidden into other bills, because as a standalone thing if there’s any public awareness they would never pass,” O'Mara said.

O’Mara says this could include funding cuts for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which was proposed earlier this year but fought by the region's Republican and Democratic members of Congress, includng Ohio’s  Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman.