Seattle City Council votes to withhold business from Arctic Refuge oil companies

Seattle skyline. (Creative Commons photo by Bryce Edwards)

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to avoid doing business with any company that leases land in the 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. “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 of Representatives and the U.S. Senate voted to allow oil exploration and lease sales in the refuge in the 2017 tax bill. That’s been a goal of Alaska’s congressional delegation for decades. It’s also a priority of President Donald 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.