Speed Reads

ANWR

Trump calls the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 'one of the great oil sites'

President Trump held his first Cabinet meeting of 2018 on Wednesday and in addition to welcoming the press "back to the studio" and claiming his "performance" at the DACA meeting "got great reviews," he had a strange way of describing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

The comment came while Trump was praising the Republican tax overhaul, which passed in December. "In addition to the largest tax cut and reform in history, we have one of the great oil sites that's now been approved," he said. "They've been trying to approve ANWR [for drilling], I don't know if people know this, for 40 years."

The GOP tax legislation opened up ANWR for drilling, a measure that was added in part to earn the support of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R). "We fought long to authorize a program for energy development in Alaska’s nonwilderness 1002 area," she said ahead of the vote, using the term for the region in the refuge that will be drilled.

Democrats have heavily criticized the plan, with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) tweeting that "the Arctic Wildlife Refuge is too important and too pristine to turn into an oil field." In addition to being "one of the great oil sites," the 19.6-million acre refuge is home to Porcupine caribou, polar bears, and "millions of migratory birds," The Seattle Times reports. Watch Trump's comments below, beginning around the 1:03 mark. Jeva Lange