ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Today, the U.S. Senate is voting on a tax bill that would open America’s unspoiled Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling and maintains billion in tax breaks for fossil fuel producers while stifling the growing renewable energy sector. Environment Florida issued the following statement in response:
"With all the back and forth on who this tax bill benefits, the environment is the clear loser, with calamitous consequences for all Americans. The Senate is voting on handing over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling. And they’re simultaneously voting on killing the new solar and wind energy production we desperately need to combat the growing effects of global warming -- while keeping subsidies for fossil fuel production. After months of global warming-fueled extreme weather and wildfires, and decades of air and water pollution from burning coal, oil and gas, it has never been more important to shift our country -- wholesale and quickly -- toward renewable energy. The Senate bill takes us in exactly the wrong direction.
The bill opens up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of the last truly wild places on earth, to irreversible damage from oil and gas drilling. The Refuge supports caribou, polar bears, black and grizzly bears, arctic foxes, moose, muskoxen and more than 200 species of migratory birds. Opening this rugged wilderness to oil and gas drilling would not only blight a pristine landscape, it would threaten these creatures and the ecosystem with spills and pollution.
The bill also continues massive incentives for fossil fuel production amounting to tens of billions of dollars over the next decade. Most insidiously, an obscure provision recently added to the Senate Tax bill would stifle development of solar and wind energy by hurting the financial viability of new projects. With no public debate or time for Americans to respond, the Senate is threatening one of the keys to a livable future for our children and grandchildren.
The House tax bill isn’t any better. It also continues subsidies for fossil fuels, eliminates incentives for electric vehicles and slashes wind energy credits by at least one-third.
It’s time for Senator Rubio to join Senator Nelson in rejecting this bill to help ensure a cleaner, healthier energy future for our state,and to protect the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of the places that makes all of the United States great.”