November 01, 2005
Language that will open a portion of ANWR to oil and gas development is contained in the Senate's budget reconciliation bill that will be taken up in the Senate this week.
"America is paying significantly more for gasoline, heating fuel, and consumer products than just a few short months ago," Sen. Stevens said. "In the past four and a half years, the average price of gasoline has increased by $1.84 a gallon - that's a 75% increase. We now import almost 60% of the oil we consume. For every $1 billion that we spend to develop our domestic resources, we create 12,500 jobs.
"That means we lost over 1.3 million jobs in 2003 by importing oil instead of producing it here. We must reduce energy costs and create well-paying jobs for Americans by developing our domestic resources. Alaska can play a large role in this effort."
Stevens noted that ANWR is estimated to be the 2nd largest oil field ever discovered in North America, capable of producing 1 million barrels of oil per day and from 700,000 to 1 million American jobs.
"ANWR oil, rather than some insignificant trickle as some have suggested, should equal about a fifth of our domestic oil production in the next decade" Sen. Murkowski said. "Given current prices, the added supply should cut several percentages off the cost of gasoline. That could save farmers, truckers, and all motorists, from 10 to 15 cents a gallon. That is significant savings for our economy. ANWR will help each man, woman and child pay less for everything from computers made from plastics to food delivered by trucks to their local grocery stores."
Murkowski also said that development in ANWR and related activities is estimated to add $350 billion to the U.S. economy in direct spending. "This will help everyone from the compressor factory worker in New York to the steel pipeline worker in the Midwest," she said.
Richard Glenn representing the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, added, "[Native Alaskans] depend on Alaska's resources for food and the roots of our culture and we depend on the resource for an improvement in our quality of life. ANWR development is good for the Native people of Alaska, good for the State and good for the country."
Stevens and Murkowski were also joined by Interior Secretary Gale Norton, Bill Graves, former Governor of Kansas and President and CEO of the American Trucking Association, and Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, all of whom announced their support for opening ANWR to development.
"We have a tremendous interest in present energy conditions and know that ANWR will provide us with some increase in capacity that will let us respond to the shifting needs of this country and consumers in America," Graves said.
Norton said that because of the current high cost of energy and concerns over supplies, "We have seen in recent months a growing concern about the need for energy among many sectors of our economy that have not been involved in energy debates in the past." She noted that the Air Transport Association, citing concerns over a reliable source of affordable jet fuel recently announced their support for ANWR.
"Public perception on
this issue has begun to change," Stevens said. "I believe
Americans now support drilling on the Coastal Plain because they
realize stable energy prices, economic growth, and improved national
security will come only when we increase domestic energy resources."
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