New York Republican Sportsmen Overwhelmingly Say: Remove Arctic Refuge Oil Drilling From U.S. Tax Bill

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By 57-26 Margin Say Protecting Established Wildlife Preserves for Future Generations is a “Moral” Rather Than “Economic” Issue
82% of New York Republican Sportsmen Say Defending Protected Federal Lands Should be “Bipartisan Issue”

New York–Dec. 8…Republican sportsmen from two upstate New York congressional districts, by a greater than two-to-one margin (60-29%), believe that a controversial provision to allow private companies to drill for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) should be removed from the federal congressional tax bill and be treated as a standalone issue, according to an urgently important new survey released today by the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV).

The December 2-3 survey, which queried 400 Republican sportsmen in New York’s 22nd and 24th congressional districts encompassing areas of Central and Western New York, respectively, also found that Republican sportsmen, by a 57-26 margin, view protecting wildlife preserves for future generations as a “moral” rather than “economic” issue.” Fully 82% said that defending protected federal lands should be a “bipartisan” effort.

“Republican sportsmen and sportswomen cherish America’s protected wildlife preserves and understand how quickly protected lands can be snatched away from future generations by short-sighted political chicanery in Washington,” said NYLCV president Marcia Bystryn. “By greater than a two-to-one margin these Republicans are saying, ‘get the ANWR language out of the federal budget bill; it doesn’t belong there.’ We are hopeful they will be heard in the coming days.”

Republicans hope to pass the 2018 federal budget this month.

The 19-million-acre ANWR preserve was established in 1960 in a bipartisan effort led by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The inclusion of the issue in this year’s budget bill is widely viewed as a subversion of the normal legislative process, and the substantive debate that comes with it.

A full 90% of Republican sportsmen surveyed agreed that America’s parks and wildlife preserves should remain protected; a plurality (50-30%) said that private oil drilling in ANWR should be outright prohibited, and survey respondents were split 49-47% on whether private development should ever be allowed allowed on park lands. New York Republican sportsman favored by a wide margin investing in alternative energy and conservation measures over opening up federally protected lands (47-30%).

“The Republican Party has a proud legacy of land and wildlife conservation,” Ms. Bystryn continued. “Presidents including Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower showed tremendous vision in stepping forward to preserve fast-vanishing wildlife areas from being paved over by modernity before they were all gone. They made a solemn pledge to future generations of Americans that must be honored by each succeeding generation of leaders to be kept whole. We need to see that leadership now.”

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to imperiled polar bears; the majestic Porcupine Caribou herd; musk oxen; wolves, and nearly 200 species of birds that migrate to all 50 states. It has been home to the native Gwich’in people for thousands of years.

The NYLCV survey, conducted by Harper Polling, has a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. The full survey with crosstabs is available for viewing here. [link]