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E-M:/ Arctic Cloture Vote Today, Please contact Levin and Stabenow

Enviro-Mich message from "David Ross" <ROSS@nwf.org>

Sen. Carl Levin, 202-224-6221
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, 202-224-4822

Senate to Vote on Arctic Refuge Amendment

It's up to the Senate and you!  Today, Monday, December 3rd, at 5 pm eastern time, the Senate is scheduled to vote on whether to allow oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Once again, Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK) and his allies are jumping at the opportunity to further their political agendas at the expense of Americans by adding a controversial drilling amendment to important legislation. 

Earlier this fall, as the Senate attempted to come together and address our national security needs in the wake of a national tragedy, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) attempted to stall the Defense Authorization Bill to force a vote to drill the Arctic Refuge.  When this attempt failed, Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) followed suit on the Aviation Security Bill and offered an amendment that would mandate drilling in the Arctic Refuge coastal plain.  Next, as debate on the crucial Economic Stimulus package began in early November, Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) filed H.R. 4 as an amendment to the bill.  As the parties remain divided on this bill, it has been put on hold.

The Arctic Refuge is still not safe.  Senators Murkowski, Lott (R-MS), and Brownback (R-KS) are once again offering H.R. 4 as an amendment, this time to the Railroad Retirement Bill.  This bill, which aids railroad retirees, had the support of 75 cosponsors in the Senate before the H.R. 4 amendment was filed.  Senator Lott has filed for cloture on this amendment.  If he wins the cloture vote on Monday, drilling in the Arctic Refuge will occur!!  H.R. 4 is a threat to our environment - it is a "Dirty" energy bill that will not help our nation's energy needs.  

Take Action Today!!!  

Your senators need to hear from you.  Call email, and fax call your senators today and urge them to vote against the Lott/Murkowski/Brownback amendment.  Tell them the truth about oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic Refuge:

 Even new "environmentally friendly" technology will not prevent harm to the Arctic Refuge.  Oil drilling and the environment are not compatible despite claims of improved technology.  According to the Alaska Department of Environment and Conservation, the oil industry has been responsible for over 400 oil and toxic waste spills each year in the areas of Alaska where drilling already occurs.  Additional harm will occur as oil companies convert wildlife habitats to oilfields, divert water from lakes and rivers, and emit air pollutants that rival those of a small city.  We can't afford to depend on oil companies to prevent permanent ecological harm.          

 Drilling in the Arctic Refuge will not reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil or help our military.   The Arctic Refuge contains only a 6-month supply of recoverable oil, and even industry officials admit that this supply will not be available for 10 years.  

 Energy experts agree a more timely, cost effective solution exists.  Making cars more fuel-efficient is the single most effective way to bring energy independence to our nation and thus increase national security.  Raising vehicle fuel economy standards to 39 miles per gallon over the next decade could yield ten times more oil than will ever be found in the Arctic Refuge.  This solution would help clean the air, reduce consumer prices, and make our nation less dependent on foreign oil.    

 Drilling operations will not be contained to 2,000 acres, but spread across the entire 200,000 acres of the coastal plain.  Drilling proponents claim that oil drilling will have minimal effects on the environment since drilling will be restricted to 2,000 acres.  However, this 2,000 acres is not contiguous; in fact, drilling will require a spider web of roads, wells, processing plants and other facilities spread across 200,000 acres.  Additionally, the 2,000 acre limitation does not include seismic and exploratory drilling activities, the construction of ice or permanent roads, gravel mines, and pipelines.    

 Drilling in the Arctic Refuge will not stimulate the economy and create the jobs that proponents claim.   Economists argue that drilling will generate over 700,000 new jobs.  This estimate is based on a ten-year old study that was funded by the oil industry.  Later economic reports indicate that the number of jobs would be far less and only temporarily add to the workforce.    

 Drilling in the Arctic Refuge should not be tacked onto an unrelated piece of legislation.  Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) has committed to debating a national energy strategy bill in January 2002.  Any discussion of the Arctic Refuge should take place in the context of our country's energy plan in January.  And destroying the Arctic Refuge will not answer our nation's energy needs.

Call, Email, and Fax your senators - It's easy and makes a difference!!
Phone Calls:
Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard:  (202)224-3121 and ask for your senator's office.  You will be directly connected at no additional cost.

Or call direct:
Sen. Carl Levin, 202-224-6221
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, 202-224-4822

Be sure to:

1. Tell them your name and town
2. Tell them you are calling about a vote today
3. Ask them to please protect the Arctic Refuge and vote against the Lott/Murkowski/Brownback amendment to the Railroad Retirement Bill

Emails and Faxes:  To send an email, visit the National Wildlife Federation's web site at http://www.capwiz.com/nwf/issues/alert/?alertid=49430.  You will be able to use a sample message to send to your senators that can be edited to specifically ask them to vote against the Lott/Murkowski/Brownback amendment to the Railroad Retirement Bill.  Be sure to include some of the truths about the Arctic Refuge.  After completing the message, simply click on the button to email it to your senators, or print it out and fax it - it's that easy!  To fax a message, you will need to contact your senator's office to ensure that you receive the correct fax number. 

David Ross, Great Lakes Office, and
Pamela E. Goddard
Senior Grassroots Outreach Manager
National Wildlife Federation
1400 16th St., N.W.
Suite 501
Washington, D.C. 20036
202/797-6646 fax

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