House Democrats Demand No Arctic Refuge Drilling Be Included in
D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Edward
Markey of Massachusetts and 121 House Democrats sent a letter today
to the leaders of the House Budget Committee urging them to refrain
from using the budget process to open the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge to oil and gas drilling. Even though the plan was dropped
from the energy bill last year due to strong opposition, the Bush
Administration has again included a proposal to drill in the Artic
Refuge in its fiscal year 2005 budget.
preposterous for the President to think he can climb out of his
budgetary hole by drilling in the Arctic Refuge," Pelosi said.
"The President wants an enormous policy change with devastating
environmental ramifications for a small amount of potential revenue.
It is shameful, and House Democrats will fight it."
Markey said: "The President's budget represents wishful thinking
rather than economic reality. Oil leasing is not allowed in the
Arctic Refuge, and it is irresponsible of the President to count
on $1.2 billion in revenues from the sale of leases in that pristine
wilderness. The road to America's energy independence does not go
through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."
The House Democrats
wrote in the letter to the Budget Committee leaders: "We strongly
urge you to reject any requests to assume revenue from drilling
activity in the Arctic Refuge or reconciliation instructions that
could facilitate drilling there. Drilling is prohibited under current
law and widely opposed throughout America. If the law ever changes,
there will be adequate time to incorporate new assumptions regarding
federal revenue from this source in subsequent budgets."
the Artic Refuge, one of the most magnificent and rare unspoiled
ecosystems in the world, Congress in 1980 prohibited oil and gas
exploration or production on the coastal plain of the refuge. A
Democratic amendment to the House energy bill blocking drilling
in the Arctic Refuge narrowly failed last year, but the subsequent
House-Senate conference report preserved the current protections
for the Refuge. A majority of Americans have consistently opposed
opening this area for oil exploration.