Poll: Stefanik’s district opposes Arctic drilling

Arctic refuge
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The League of Conservation Voters says a new poll shows that the constituents of Elise Stefanik, whose district includes the Adirondack Park, oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and tax plan backed by President Donald Trump. She voted against the tax bill earlier this month, but Congress is still debating the issue. A tax bill in the Senate would open the Alaskan refuge to oil drilling. The league commissioned the poll. Following is the group’s news release.

Washington, D.C. — A new bipartisan poll by Global Strategy Group and Bellwether Research shows that both the Republican tax plan and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are deeply unpopular in two upstate New York congressional districts. Voting to allow drilling in the Arctic Refuge will generate backlash among the constituents of Rep. John Faso (R, NY-19) and Elise Stefanik (R, NY-21) — with Faso’s popularity dropping with nearly 68 percent of his constituents, the most of all eight districts polled.

The League of Conservation Voters released the polling as Congress continues to debate including Arctic Refuge drilling in the Republican tax bill. Stefanik and Faso both opposed the most recent version of the House tax bill.

“The GOP tax plan is unpopular to begin with, but Rep. Faso and Rep. Stefanik’s constituents oppose drilling in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge even more,” said League of Conservation Voters Deputy Legislative Director Alex Taurel. “Selling out one of our nation’s most iconic wild places to Big Oil has no place in the tax debate. Reps. Faso and Stefanik should listen to their constituents and commit to vote against any tax bill that includes this polar payout to the oil industry.”

Find a memo summarizing the results for Faso’s district here, and a memo on Stefanik’s district here. Key findings include:

  • Trump’s tax plan faces solid opposition across the board — opposition outpaces support in Faso’s district by 27 points (55 percent oppose), and nearly half of Stefanik’s constituents (49 percent) oppose the tax plan.
  • Large majorities oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, with opposition outpacing support by 43 points in Faso’s district and 35 points in Stefanik’s.
  • New Yorkers in both districts would strongly disapprove of a vote to drill in the Arctic Refuge. 58 percent of Stefanik’s constituents say they would be less favorable toward the congresswoman if she voted to drill. In Faso’s district, an impressive 68 percent of those polled say they would be less favorable toward the congressman if he supports drilling.
  • President Donald Trump is extremely unpopular, with 63 percent of constituents unfavorable toward Trump in Faso’s district and 51 percent unfavorable in Stefanik’s — and large numbers rating him “very unfavorable.”

Congress is expected to vote on Senator Lisa Murkowski’s plan to drill in the Arctic Refuge as part of the Republican tax proposal. The last time that the Arctic Refuge faced a threat this serious – in 2005 – a group of House Republicans banded together and successfully convinced leadership to remove the provision from a broader budget bill.

LCV is encouraging people nationwide to contact their representatives in Congress and urge them to oppose drilling in the Arctic Refuge, including running a $750,000 advertising campaign on digital and TV in several congressional districts. Other members included in LCV’s polling are Reps. Darrell Issa (R, CA-49), Brian Mast (R, FL-18), Bruce Poliquin (R, ME-2), Ryan Costello (R, PA-6) Brian Fitzpatrick (R, PA-8) and Patrick Meehan (R, PA-7).

The Arctic Refuge is America’s most iconic wildlife refuge and one of the largest remaining intact ecosystems in the world. It has sustained the Gwich’in people for centuries, which is why they call it “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins.” The Arctic Refuge is also home to an incredible array of wildlife, including caribou, wolves, polar bears, and nearly 200 species of migratory birds.


About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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