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Senate Majority Leader — Let the Energy Bill
Come To A Floor Vote Immediately

For Immediate Release. October 28, 2001 — By a vote of 240-189, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4 — Securing America’s Future Energy Act of 2001 (SAFE) on August 2, 2001, an energy bill that included President Bush’s plan to permit oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).   The measure passed with 36 democrats voting for the measure. 

Unfortunately, the proposed legislation may not be brought up until next year in the Senate according to Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (Democrat-South Dakota).  As was reported by the Washington Times, some Republicans privately believe the Senator is contemplating a run for the  Democratic nomination for President and is playing early partisan politics.  The Senate Majority leader is carefully guarding his green base said Republicans because the Democrats vote was split for Vice President Al Gore, with many environmentalists voting for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.

“When considering America’s war against terrorism, the lack of a comprehensive energy bill puts America at risk,” said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy. 

ANWR is America’s single largest oil reserve, which could produce between 9.2 – 16 billion barrels of oil according to estimates from some petroleum experts.  In addition, oil exploration in the vast refuge would not create an unacceptable risk to wildlife and pristine forests since the oil exploration equipment would affect only a minute 0.1 percent of ANWR’s 19 million acres.  Furthermore, ANWR is so oil rich, it could provide the substitute for the oil that the U.S. would otherwise have to import from Saudi Arabia over the next three decades.  Oil imports could be reduced by about eight percent by allowing ANWR to be opened to energy exploration.

Oil exploration in ANWR would not endanger wildlife or landscape because of strict federal laws that govern oil and gas exploration.  Major oil drilling at the North Slope’s Prudhoe Bay has taken place for more than twenty years with no threat to endangered species and no ecological disasters.  This drilling accounts for 25 percent of domestic oil production and produces 1.4 million barrels daily.

Compared to Prudhoe Bay, even less land would be required to recover oil in ANWR as a result of advances in oil drilling technology.  Oil equipment and roads would cover 1,526 acres in Prudhoe Bay representing more than a 60 percent reduction in land area if new directional drilling techniques and drilling equipment were used.

As little as 2,000 acres of the ANWR coastal plain’s 1.5 million acres would be required to recover the potentially oil-rich reserves located in the area.  Furthermore, other techniques would also be used by the energy industry to provide ecological benefits to the area. 

The environment, contrary to testimony from many environmentalists, is not harmed when areas such as ANWR are developed.  Wildlife is not endangered as is clearly demonstrated by Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay which has been aggressively developed and has made major contributions to the U.S. domestic oil productions.

“Already an energy bill that includes the President’s plan to permit oil exploration in ANWR has been passed by the House of Representatives,” stated Dr. Rutkowski.  “It is time for Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle to put personal benefits and partisan politics aside and allow the measure to be voted on immediately rather than next year.  Such action would reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil; and for an economy in recession, it would provide a substantial amount of economic stimulus.”

For more information, see the SAFE Action Alert at http://www.americanvoiceinstitute.org/SAFE Alert.htm

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