Governor Comments on ANWR
January 14, 2009
(SitNews) - Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), along with 23 Senate
colleagues, today re-introduced legislation to protect the coastal
plains region of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) from
the threat of oil and gas exploration. The legislation would
provide 1.5 million acres of the land with wilderness designation,
reaffirming the original intent of the refuge to provide habitat
for Alaska's wildlife.
Quoting a news release from
Lieberman's office, while supporters of drilling in the refuge
have touted the coastal plain as the largest potential reserve
of domestic oil, the U.S. Geologic Survey estimates the amount
of commercially recoverable oil would meet no more than two percent
of our nation's use at any given time. Additionally, scientific
analyses by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conclude that
drilling would severely harm the abundant populations of polar
bears, caribou, musk oxen, and snow geese in the refuge.
"The Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge is a pristine natural treasure that must be preserved
for future generations," said Lieberman. "We do not
have to choose between conservation and exploration when it comes
to our energy future; we can do both simultaneously while moving
toward a sustainable and diverse national energy policy."
The bill is co-sponsored by
Senators Murray, Stabenow, Whitehouse, Leahy, Cardin, Schumer,
Kohl, Feingold, Kennedy, Durbin, Dodd, Boxer, Cantwell, Wyden,
Reed, Feinstein, Sanders, Tom Udall, Mark Udall, Harkin, Lautenberg,
Kerry, and Klobuchar.
In response to the re-introduction
of this legislation, Governor Sarah Palin said, "I am dismayed
that legislation has again been introduced in Congress to prohibit
forever oil and gas development in the most promising unexplored
petroleum province in North America the coastal plain of
ANWR, in Alaska."
Palin said in a prepared statement, "Let's not forget: Only
six months ago, oil was selling for nearly $150 per barrel, while
Americans were paying $4 a gallon and more for gasoline. And
today, there is potential for prices to rebound as OPEC asserts
its market power, and as Russia is disrupting needed natural
gas to Europe, for the second time in three years."
"As I traveled throughout the country campaigning for vice
president, I was glad to hear politicians, including President-elect
Barack Obama, promise 'everything was on the table' to address
America's great challenges. I also found that when Americans
were apprised of the facts, most people became supporters of
responsible oil and gas drilling in Alaska. So, I want to remind
our national leaders of this promise, and to make the case against
this legislation that would permanently take off the table any
consideration of responsible ANWR drilling," said Palin.
The governor made the following points in her prepared statement:
- Oil from ANWR represents a
huge, secure domestic supply that could help satisfy U.S. demand
for more than 25 years.
- ANWR sits within a 20 million
acre refuge (the size of South Carolina) but thanks to advanced
technology like directional drilling, the aggregated drilling
footprint would be less than 2,000 acres (about one-quarter the
size of Dulles Airport). This is like laying a two-by-three-foot
welcome mat on a basketball court.
- Energy development is quite
compatible with the protection of our wildlife and their habitat.
For example, North Slope caribou herds have grown and remained
healthy throughout more than three decades of our oil development.
Most of the year, our coastal plain is frozen solid and thus
characterized by low biological productivity.
- ANWR development would create
hundreds of thousands of good American jobs, positively affecting
every state by providing a safe energy supply and generating
demand for goods and services.
- Development here would reduce
U.S. dependence on unstable, dangerous sources of energy such
as the Middle East, and would decrease our huge trade deficit,
a large percentage of which is directly attributable to oil imports.
- Incremental ANWR production
would help reduce energy price volatility. Previous price disruptions
demonstrate how even relatively low levels of oil production
influence world prices.
- Federal revenues from ANWR
cash bids, leases, and oil taxes would help reduce
the multi-trillion dollar national debt, and we'd circulate U.S.
petrodollars in our own country instead of continuing to send
hundreds of billions of our dollars overseas, creating jobs and
stronger economies in other countries.
The governor went on to say,
"The development of oil and clean-burning natural gas isn't
a panacea. However, this development should be authorized in
comprehensive legislation that includes alternative fuels, fuel
efficiency, and conservation."
Palin said, "Americans know that gasoline and other refined
crude oil products will keep fueling our transportation system
for the foreseeable future. Further, the soaring prices of food,
pharmaceuticals, chemicals and other products illustrate the
importance of petroleum to the health and well-being of America."
"Another important reality is that the location and quantity
of oil production are drastically changing world geopolitics.
Energy-producing countries are rapidly gaining world power. Several
of these countries have objectives and value systems that are
antithetical to U.S. interests," said Palin.
The governor said, "Washington politicians should be horrified
as we become increasingly dependent on these insecure, foreign
sources while our U.S. petrodollars finance activities that harm
America and our economic and military interests around the world."
"If we don't move now to enact a comprehensive energy policy
that includes domestic oil and gas production including
ANWR - we will look back someday and regret that we failed to
perceive a critical crossroads in the history of America. It's
not overly dramatic to say our nation's future depends on the
decisions made by the federal government over the next few months,"
"Polls show a majority of Americans now support responsible
energy development in Alaska. Unfortunately, some disingenuous
special interest groups are still fighting the public will in
Congress," said Plain.
United Staes Senator Lisa Murkowski has successfully opposed
similar legislation in the past and, as the ranking Republican
on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in
a prepared statement that she will continue to fight efforts
to permanently take ANWR off the table.
Murkowski (R-Alaska) said,
"Given that we were at record oil prices only a few months
ago, it makes no sense to deny Americans access to lower-cost
energy by permanently locking up North America's largest potential
source of oil and gas,"
Murkowski said, "I'm confident that through the use of modern
drilling technology we can develop our natural resources, including
ANWR, without harming the environment. Developing ANWR offers
an opportunity to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve
our national security."
"Taking ANWR permanently off the table at a time of volatile
energy prices and economic hardship is simply not wise public
policy," said Murkowski.
The governor said, "Americans,
please contact Congress and ask that all options stay on the
table as we formulate our needed energy plan. Remind politicians
about their promises to increase domestic oil and gas production."
The wilderness legislation was recently introduced in both chambers
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