The Senate will soon be voting on President Trump’s directive to drill for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – the largest national refuge in the country and critical breeding habitat for millions of birds that migrate to all Lower 48 states, including Maine.

To her great credit, Sen. Susan Collins has voted against drilling in the refuge eight out of nine times since 2000, the strongest record of any Republican senator. Since then, the rationale for drilling in the refuge has diminished significantly as the U.S. finds itself awash in oil from new domestic sources.

The U.S. now holds more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia and Russia, consultants have determined. We have recently exported more than a million barrels a day to other countries. Crude oil prices have fallen from almost $150 a barrel in 2008 to less than $50 today. And in May, President Trump proposed selling half the U.S. Strategic Oil Reserve.

If we don’t have an urgent need for oil, why tear up a spectacular landscape, home to incredible populations of wildlife, in an effort to find more of it?

Once again, Sen. Collins holds a make-or-break vote on major national legislation. Hopefully, she will again demonstrate her independence, leadership and courage by voting against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Mason Morfit

South Freeport

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