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Stevens Opposes Cantwell To Keep ANWR In Budget


November 03, 2005

Wednesday, Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) joined Senators Pete Domenici (R- N.M.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and John Sununu (R-N.H.), and James Talent (R ­ Mo.) in voicing opposition to Senator Maria Cantwell's (D-Wash.) motion to strike language authorizing development of the Coastal Plain from the Budget Reconciliation bill.  The motion to strike will be voted on during a series of roll call votes which will begin on Thursday, November 3, 2005.
During his speech, Senator Stevens discussed the legislative history of the 1002 area, the need for Alaska oil in Washington and throughout the country, and the rationale for including the provision authorizing development in the Budget Reconciliation bill.
In speaking against Senator Cantwell's motion, Senator Stevens said he plays an interesting role in the argument since he was in the Interior Department in the Eisenhower Administration and helped create the Arctic Wildlife Range. Stevens said, "I was here at the time that Senators Jackson and Tsongas offered the amendment that created the 1002 Area it was specifically excluded from the Refuge.  It is not wilderness, it never was wilderness, and it has never been closed to oil and gas exploration."
Stevens said, "Twenty-four years ago, during the debate on the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), I worked closely with Senator Scoop Jackson and Senator Paul Tsongas to ensure part of the Coastal Plain of this area remained open for oil and gas development.  Senator Jackson and Senator Tsongas promised oil and gas activity would take place in that Coastal Plain subject to an environmental impact statement which would have to be approved by the Congress.  In the spirit of compromise, they created Section 1002 of ANILCA, which set aside 1.5 million acres along the Coastal Plain for oil and gas exploration and development." 
Senator Stevens also explained why he believe it is necessary to include the provision permitting exploration and development on the Coastal Plain in the Budget Reconciliation bill. 
"I have heard some comments here this morning on whether or not this is right to have this provision in this bill.  The Constitution of the United States doesn't require 60 votes to pass a bill; that is only a procedural rule of the United States Senate on how to end filibusters.  Filibusters plague this Senate.  They continue to plague this Senate.  And that is why the Budget Act was passed to prevent filibusters on items that would bring about increased income to the Untied States."
Senator Stevens expressed his "amazement" that Senator Cantwell of Washington had introduced her motion to strike the language authorizing development on the Coastal Plain from the Budget Reconciliation bill.  He said:
"I must express my amazement that our colleague from Washington has introduced an amendment to strip this provision from this budget reconciliation.  In 1980, former Washington senator and my great friend, Henry 'Scoop' Jackson, wrote a letter discussing the importance of ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge).  He wrote this:
"'Crucial to the nation's ability to achieve energy independence, one-third of our own petroleum reserves are in Alaska along with an even greater proportion of our potential reserves.  Actions such as even preventing the exploration of the Arctic Wildlife Range is an ostrich-like approach that ill serves our nation in this time of energy crisis.'"
Senator Stevens then discussed why developing our domestic resources on the Coastal Plain is important to Washington State. 
He said. "Not only does ANWR serve our important national security interest, it also serves economic interests of the state of Washington.  The economic health of the Puget Sound is directly linked to Alaska, as is illustrated by a report commissioned by the Tacoma Pierce County and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce.  Of particular importance is oil production in the North Slope.  Washington's refining industry purchases almost its entire crude oil stock from Alaska."

Stevens, said, "The report states, and I quote: 'Direct impacts from the refining of Alaska crude oil within the Puget Sound region include 1,990 jobs and $144.5 million in labor earnings.  In 2003, oil refineries in Puget Sound imported $2.8 billion worth of crude oil from Alaska.'
"Oil development is a major contributor to the health of Washington's economy.  As oil wealth in the State of Alaska increases so does the demand for Puget Sound goods and services.  Perhaps this is why the Chambers of Commerce support balanced development of ANWR.  They understand that with Prudhoe Bay declining, it only produces about 950,000 barrels a day instead of 2.1 million barrels a day.  Additional oil resources must be developed to ensure the continued economic viability of the Puget Sound Region," said Stevents.
He said, "The development of Prudhoe Bay contributed more than $1.6 billion dollars to the Washington economy.  ANWR alone is estimated to create over 12,000 new jobs in Washington alone, in addition to the revenues it will generate for that state."
Senator Stevens explained how development on the Coastal Plain will help meet our energy needs, grow our economy, and enhance our national security efforts.
"The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is 19 million acres. The area set aside for oil and gas exploration is 1.5 million acres.  Because of advances in technology, only 2,000 acres of that will be needed for production," said Stevens.
He said,"According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Coastal Plain holds between 5.7 billion barrels and 16 billion barrels of oil. We are capable of producing a lot more oil and gas.  We can produce 876,000 to 1.6 million barrels a day by developing the Coastal Plain.  And that would fill our pipeline back up."
Stevens said, "I want to emphasize, in 1973, at the time of the Oil Embargo, our country imported one-third of its petroleum.  We now import almost 60% of our oil.  By 2025, we will import almost 70% unless we start developing our own [resources], improving the possible reserves that we have."
"American dependence on foreign oil threatens our national security.  We now rely on unstable and unfriendly regimes to meet our energy needs," said Sen. Stevens.
"The Coastal Plain can produce over 36 million gallons of gasoline, jet and diesel fuel, heating oil, and other products every day.  It can heat over 8.1 million homes, or provide all of the gasoline that Californians consume every day.  America needs this American oil.  And people who say that it is only a day's supply or so are talking as if there was no other source of oil.  That is just a preposterous statement to say that this area contains very little oil," said Stevens.
He said,"We are paying higher prices to meet our energy needs, and we are flushing jobs and money out of our economy.  This is outsourcing.  Our colleagues from the other party talk about outsourcing; the major outsourcing of jobs in the United States is outsourcing our supply of energy when we could produce it here at home."
"For every $1 billion we spend to develop our domestic resources, we create 12,500 jobs.  This means that in 2003 we lost over 1.3 million jobs by importing oil instead of producing it here - 1.3 million jobs were outsourced in order to bring oil from other places!", said Stevens.
Stevens said he believes the tide of public opinion is changing.  "The American people know that development in the Coastal Plain will help lower energy prices, reduce our dependence on unstable and unfriendly regimes, and grow our economy."
Senator Stevens concluded his statement by urging his colleagues to defeat Senator Cantwell's motion and provide the energy resources the United States needs.
Stevens said, "A vote for this motion is the vote for the status quo, which is doing nothing on a commitment that was made in 1980 that this area would be explored and developed in the national interest.  We cannot continue to increase our dependence on foreign oil.  We do have the capability to increase our production of oil and gas."
He said Cantwell's proposal is a proposal to export 1.3 million American jobs every year.  Stevens said, "It will cost us $200 billion annually by 2025.  We want to stop that.  We want to stem the flow of jobs leaving this country.  We do not want to go beyond 60% in importing our oil.  As a matter of fact, we want to reverse that, and we want to go back to the promise Senators Jackson and Tsongas made when they created this portion of this area reserve for exploration and development.  The Coastal Plain has been set aside for exploration and development."
Stevens said, "An old bull, and that is what they call us World War II types when they reach my age in the Senate, we remember when a Member's word meant something in the Senate and a word of a Member who had left the Senate was still fulfilled.  We remember when the Senate would do anything within its power to honor a promise." 
"In our state, we quote Robert Service:  'A promise made is a debt unpaid.'  This is a debt unpaid to the Senate, to the country, to Alaska to proceed with what Senators Jackson and Tsongas outlined in 1980, [which was] to explore for and develop that oil in the area, if it is possible to do so," he said.


On the Web:

Senator Lisa Murkowski's (R-AK) ANWR Speech
Listen: MP3



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