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E-M:/ Arctic Blackmail: Senator Stevens in His Own Words

This set of quotes provides an insight to a US Senator who obviously holds more sway than is reasonable, and flaunts his blunt instrument approach to politics:



For Immediate Release: December 16, 2005
Contact: Annie Strickler, (202) 487-4493 (cell)
     Orli Cotel, (415) 977-5627

Senator Stevens Holds Defense Spending Hostage: In His Own Words

In a desperate, last-ditch effort to force Congress to approve drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Senator Stevens -- the man who brought us the $450 million "bridges to nowhere" -- is moving the controversial drilling provision to the Defense spending bill.  This outrageous move amounts to a kind of blackmail, with hurricane victims and America?s troops being held hostage. This is not the first time Stevens has put his own interests ahead of Hurricane Katrina victims. Last month he threatened to resign if the Senate voted to take funding from the ?bridges to nowhere? to help rebuild bridges in Louisiana.

But don?t take our word for it. Listen to what Stevens himself has to say:

?Katrina will be on this [defense] bill. That's what makes the defense bill a little bit attractive because Katrina will be there," he said. "It is going to be awful hard to vote against Katrina."

(E&E Daily, Arctic drilling proponents may turn to defense bill,12/15/2005)

"And if it's in there, maybe disaster-area people will vote with me on ANWR."

(Anchorage Daily News, Stevens plans to tie ANWR to Katrina relief bill; Senator says the oil revenue would go to states hurt by hurricane, also mulls defense rider, 12/15/2005)

"This is the end game, O.K., and I have been involved in end games for a lot of years," Mr. Stevens said. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm not leaving. I have canceled my trip home. I will be here through Christmas if necessary."

(New York Times, Republicans Try to Outflank Democrats on Key Measures, 12/16/2005)

"I am just doing my utmost to do my job, which is to try and get [drilling] approved," Stevens said Thursday.

(Los Angeles Times, Arctic Drilling Paired With Military Spending Equals Conflict; GOP leaders take steps to link plans allowing energy exploration in the Alaskan tundra with a bill funding Defense Department operations, 12/16/2005)

"I have waited 25 years now," said Mr. Stevens, 82, who acknowledged that his approach amounted to a legislative end run. "God willing I have stayed here this long. I don't have another 25 years."

(New York Times, Republicans Try to Outflank Democrats on Key Measures,  12/16/2005)

Stevens, R-Alaska, said he is just doing his job. Complaints that ANWR doesn't belong on the annual defense appropriations bill are valid, he admitted. "It's true, I've said that myself..."

(Anchorage Daily News, ANWR maneuver infuriates senators, 12/16/2005)


In addition, Stevens made the following comments -- widely interpretted as a veiled threat -- on the floor of the Senate when he was arguing against an amendment that would have transfered the money from the notorious "bridges to nowhere" to instead fix a vital stretch of I-10 that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

"I will put the Senate on notice -- and I don't kid people -- if the Senate decides to discriminate against our state, to take money only from our state, I'll resign from this body," he said. "This is not the Senate I came to. This is not the Senate I've devoted 37 years to, if one senator can decide he'll take all the money from one state to solve a problem of another."

(Anchorage Daily News , Livid Stevens  says he'll quit  if bridge funds diverted;U.S. SENATE: Amendment to rescind money sends Alaska's senior senator into tirade, October 21, 2005)