Caribou for Millionaires. That’s what Senator Maria Cantwell called the Republican plan to sneak through Arctic drilling as part of the budget. The legislation would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the home of the porcupine caribou herd, to oil and gas drilling. And all for a paltry attempt to offset trillions of dollars of tax cuts for corporations and the rich.

An analysis by the Center for American Progress estimates that selling leases in the Arctic Refuge will raise, at most, $37.5 million. This is nowhere near the $1 billion assumed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee, or the $1.7 trillion that the current tax plan will add to the deficit.

What is all this for? Are we trading in caribou and our national heritage for tax cuts for millionaires? The coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is where pregnant caribou birth their young each year. This land is critical for the survival of the caribou herd and the Gwich’in people who rely on the caribou for their sustenance, culture and survival. Sam Alexander of the Gwich’in Nation said, “This is the only spot. And we’re concerned that you have any type of disruption in that calving ground, it’s not that they’re going to move elsewhere, it’s that they’re not going to exist.”

We need Representative Katko to stand up and say no to legislation that sells out our wildlife and indigenous people. Stand up for the Arctic Refuge.

Patricia Parkhurst