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E-M:/ Conress/Drilling: House Sets Stage for Arctic Refuge, Coastal Drilling Vote

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <Anne.Woiwode@sierraclub.org>

For Immediate Release: October 26, 2005
Contact: Annie Strickler, (202) 675-2384

          House Sets the Stage for a Vote to Open Arctic Refuge,
                       America's Coasts to Drilling

Washington, D.C. -- The House Resources Committee today set the stage for a
critical vote over the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and
America's coasts. The committee, chaired by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA),
passed a budget reconciliation package that includes controversial
provisions to drill in the long-protected Arctic Refuge and revoke the
24-year old moratorium on offshore drilling. Though the provisions were
muscled through the committee based on the largely pro-drilling makeup of
its membership, these controversial issues face a tougher battle when they
are brought to the floor as part of the overall Reconciliation package the
week of November 7. The Senate could vote on a reconciliation package that
includes Arctic drilling as early as next week.

"At a time when oil companies are making record profits to the tune of
billions of dollars, we're giving them the keys to the Arctic Refuge and
our coasts. They will line our coasts and wilderness with oil rigs while
lining their pockets with profits," said Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive

A new report from the Department of Energy estimates that even 20 years
down the road, when Arctic Refuge oil is at or near peak production, gas
prices would be affected by about a penny per gallon. Moreover, the figures
put forward in the reconciliation package are highly speculative at best.
Both the House and Senate assume $2.4 billion in revenues from Arctic
drilling, a number that is inflated to 80 times the going rate for oil
leases in the region.

"We cannot continue repeat the same mistakes of the past, nor can we drill
our way to energy independence," said Pope. "The knee-jerk reaction to put
more oil rigs up in hurricane-prone waters and industrialize the Arctic
Refuge wouldn't save consumers money but would rob our children of their
natural heritage."

For more information, please visit http://www.sierraclub.org/arctic/. To
receive email updates on other Sierra Club happenings, subscribe to the
Sierra Club Insider at http://www.sierraclub.org/insider


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