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New Poll Shows Public Support Growing To Open
Arctic Coastal Plain to Oil & Gas Development


September 20, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. ­ Saying Americans increasingly understand the nation's need for more domestic production of oil and natural gas after seeing the price aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she is certain Congress will follow suit and vote to open the Arctic coastal plain to environmentally sensitive oil and gas development later this fall.

Citing a Pew Research Center for the People & the Press national public opinion poll that was released last Thursday afternoon, Murkowski said that, "Americans today clearly favor opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development."

"The survey finds that the rise in energy prices also has had a modest but perceptible impact on public views of the tradeoff between boosting the energy supply and protecting the environment. A solid majority (57%) now says it is more important to develop new energy sources than to protect the environment, up from 49% who expressed that view in March. Support for oil and gas drilling in the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge also has gained," said Andrew, Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center in a release on his latest poll.

According to his poll, support for ANWR development had risen 8 percent in the past six months to 50 percent of the public, Americans supporting ANWR 50-42% in the most recent poll conducted between Sept. 8-11 and sporting a margin of error of +/-3%. Support for drilling gained most among Democrats, rising 13% during the past six months, according to the Pew study.

Murkowski said support for ANWR's opening has been growing nearly daily in recent weeks. She welcomed the support last week from the Air Transport Association - the industry representatives of Unites States airlines ­ that urged ANWR to be opened to help cut future aviation fuel prices.

"We are gradually cutting through the misinformation and misrepresentations about ANWR. The American public is seeing first hand why it is important that we have a balanced energy policy where we both produce more fuel domestically at the same time that we work to increase conservation and promote alternative and renewable energy sources. We need both savings and production to make energy affordable for Americans in the years ahead," said Murkowski, who stressed that ANWR and its up to 16 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil can be opened without harm to Alaska's wildlife or its environment.

"Opening ANWR is not an either, or proposition. Modern drilling technology, directional and extended reach drilling, the use of ice roads for exploration, new pipeline technology and reduced well-pad sizes all guarantee that we can allow oil development without directly impacting more than 2,000 acres out of the 19 million acres of the refuge. We have proof that development can occur safely. Gradually the American people are getting our message," said Murkowski.

Markup of a measure to open ANWR to oil development has been delayed because of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts until mid to late October, according to information provided by Murkowski.

Source of News:

Office of Sen. Lisa Murkowski


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