By Jackie Flynn Mogensen
This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Early Saturday morning, Senate Republicans narrowly passed a controversial tax bill which — aside from overwhelmingly benefiting the rich — will open up 1.5-million acres of the pristine, 20-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil and gas drilling.
The fate of the ANWR has been a decades-long tug-of-war between Republicans and Democrats, with the right seeing the massive oil reserves within the park as a source of revenue for Alaska and the country, and the left insisting on preserving the land, which supports hundreds of bird species, arctic foxes, caribou, and polar bears. First designated a “wildlife range” in 1960 and then later a refuge in 1980, the land is also home to the Native Alaskan Gwich’in tribe, which relies on the land for subsistence.
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