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E-M:/ Arctic/Defense: Victory For All Americans

Enviro-Mich message from "Rita Jack" <rita.jack@sierraclub.org>

For Immediate Release: December 21, 2005
Contact: Annie Strickler, (202) 675-2384


Washington, D.C. -- In an against-all-odds victory for wildlife, wild
places and all Americans, the Senate today rebuffed attempts to attach
controversial provisions to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to
the Defense spending bill.

"Drilling proponents have pulled out all the stops, and tried every trick
in their playbook to open up the Arctic Refuge to no avail," said Carl
Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director. "This is a tremendous victory for all
Americans and proof positive that the fate of the Arctic Refuge must be
debated on its merits, not as part of a sneak attack."

Drilling proponents have now failed to include Arctic drilling on energy,
budget and defense bills. The deplorable effort to link Arctic drilling to
funding for America's troops and Hurricane Katrina relief, led by Senator
Ted Stevens (R-AK) and bolstered by intense lobbying from the Bush
administration, failed in a cloture vote 44-56 (cloture requires 60 votes).

"We applaud those Senators who refused to let drilling proponents
manipulate them and the democratic process," said Pope. "Today's vote
reaffirmed the Senate's role as a deliberative body, not a place where
unrelated and controversial issues are tacked on to any bill without debate
and at the whim of special interests."
Senator Stevens -- the man who brought us the $450 million "bridges to
nowhere" -- tried to bully the Senate into passing a bill that benefits his
state and the oil industry at the expense of all Americans.

"This year the oil industry squeezed Americans at the gas pump to the tune
of billions in record profits, carved out billions more in government
subsidies, and then lied to Congress. Senator Stevens held defense spending
and hurricane relief hostage to help Big Oil out," said Pope. "Today the
Senate gave the oil industry and Stevens the lump of coal they deserved. We
will remain vigilant as those who would plunder the Arctic Refuge for
short-term gain are clearly willing to try anything regardless of cost."

"Americans want real energy solutions that protect special places like the
Arctic Refuge. Today that message was heard loud and clear," said Pope.
"Drilling proponents tried every excuse, but Americans know that Arctic
drilling would not put a dent in our dependence on foreign oil, would do
nothing to strengthen our national security, and would not save consumers
money at the pump."

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Energy's own Energy Information
Administration (EIA) estimates that even 20 years down the road, when
Arctic Refuge oil would be at or near peak production, gas prices would
only be affected by about a penny per gallon. The United States sits on
just 3 % of the world's known petroleum reserves. Government estimates
indicate that there is less than a year's supply of oil in the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge, and even the oil industry admits it would take 10
years to make it to US markets.

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