Environment Illinois is backing legislation to restore protections to the heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

On Feb. 11, U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (Calif.) announced he will introduce the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act, which would prohibit oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The prohibition was removed by a provision tacked on to the tax bill passed by Congress in 2017, setting off a rush to test and drill for oil on once-pristine Arctic land.

"Drilling in the Arctic Refuge would likely displace the porcupine caribou herd from their prime calving grounds and disrupt nesting grounds for dozens of species of migratory birds who flock there from every U.S. state and six continents," said Erik Dumont, public lands advocate for our national network.

"Even just doing seismic testing would likely cause irreparable harm to our iconic polar bears. Rep. Huffman’s bill provides hope that we can prevent this catastrophic outcome.”

Read more here.

Photo: Drilling or even testing for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge poses a serious threat to polar bears and other Arctic wildlife. Credit: Arthur T. LaBar via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)