Seattle council votes to withhold business from oil companies that explore Arctic Refuge

Seattle skyline (Photo by Bryce Edwards via Flickr)

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to avoid doing business with any company that that leases land in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to explore for oil.

Council Member Mike O’Brien sponsored the resolution.

“The attempt here to make it clear to anyone attempting to do business up there,” said O’Brien, who represents the Fremont neighborhood, near the University of Washington. “We will be certainly trying to figure out how to prevent those leases from going forward, but we want to make sure that nobody shows up to buy the land because it is understood that the social license to drill in the Arctic has now been removed by the American people.”

The U.S. House and Senate voted in the 2017 tax bill to allow oil exploration and lease sales in the refuge. That’s been a goal of Alaska’s congressional delegation for decades. It’s also a priority of President Trump’s Interior secretary. The Interior Department is working to hold the first ANWR lease sale before the end of the year. 

The Seattle City Council took a voice vote on the proposed ANWR boycott, with no audible opposition.

O’Brien is on the board of the Sierra Club. Several environmental groups have been campaigning to pressure corporations to steer clear of the Arctic Refuge.

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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska issues in Washington as the network's D.C. correspondent. She was born in Anchorage and is a West High grad. She has degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. She previously worked at the Homer News, the Anchorage Daily News and the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers. She also freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013. She's @lruskin on Twitter. She welcomes your news tips at lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz

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