1995 Scorecard Vote
Located in northeast Alaska, the 19 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is known as "America's Serengeti," due to the unique and unequaled wealth of wildlife in its arctic and sub-arctic ecosystems. Home to hundreds of animal species and millions of migratory birds, the refuge is the most significant polar bear denning habitat in the United States and the primary calving grounds for the 152,000-animal Porcupine caribou herd. The caribou herd provides primary livelihood, and for 10,000 years has been the cultural keystone, for the native Gwich'in people of Alaska and Canada.
Despite the fact that 90 percent of Alaska's Arctic Ocean coastline is already open to development, oil companies and their allies in Congress have been attempting to open the Arctic Refuge's 1.5 million-acre coastal plain for oil and gas development. Pro-development efforts have been defeated repeatedly, as recently as 1991.
Following passage of the Budget Resolution in May 1995, the Budget Reconciliation legislation, S. 1357, included a provision directing the Secretary of the Interior to lease the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil development to generate the estimated revenues. In addition, the measure would prohibit environmental impact analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act or other environmental laws and would relax federal standards governing oil field development activities.
On October 27, 1995, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) offered an amendment to strike Arctic drilling provisions from the bill. Budget Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) moved to table (kill) the Baucus amendment. The Domenici motion carried 51 - 48. NO is the pro-environment vote.
President Clinton vetoed the Budget Reconciliation Bill on December 6, 1995, and has threatened to veto any legislation that authorizes oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge.