Tags: Clinton | Accused | Letting | Environmentalists | Dictate | Energy | Policy

Clinton Accused of Letting Environmentalists Dictate Energy Policy

Wednesday, 01 November 2000 12:00 AM

Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, said it doesn't have to be this way. He said opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration would increase our domestic production by nearly 1 million barrels a day. Murkowski said that's nearly twice the amount of oil we import from Iraq.

"We can open ANWR safely. Oil is where you find it. The infrastructure's in. The 800-mile pipeline is in.

" When you look at that area and recognize the significance of its huge, huge piece of real estate, 19 million acres is the size of the state of South Carolina. We've taken 8 million acres and put it in wilderness, we've left nine and a half million acres for a refuge. The geologists tell us there might be as much as 16 billion barrels there. That would be enough to offset what we import from Saudi Arabia over a 30-year period," Murkowski said at a Washington news conference.

Wilderness Society issued a statement disagreeing with Murkowski.

"Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is not worth the risk it poses to the environment for what experts estimate would amount to 180 days of the U.S. oil supply.

"Drilling for oil in the Arctic refuge makes no more sense than damming the Grand Canyon for its energy potential. Some places are simply too special, and we need to pass them along to future generations just like they are.

"Even if we tear up every wilderness in America, we cannot change the reality that we have only 3 percent of the world's oil reserves and use 25 percent of the world's produced oil," said Allen Smith, Alaska regional director of Wilderness Society.

Murkowski accused the Clinton-Gore administration of discouraging domestic oil production, thus forcing America to be more dependent on foreign oil and placing our national security at risk.

"Recent events in the Middle East have given us yet another reminder that we are being held hostage to foreign oil," Murkowski said.

"The Middle East is a tinder box, and some of our most impassioned enemies are already lighting fires. Yet we are unable to respond because our foreign policy interests have been compromised as a result of our failed energy policy that consists of only one doctrine: increased reliance on foreign oil."

According to Murkowski, "If the administration simply indicated an intent to proceed with opening up [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge], you would see a drop in the price of oil by at least $10."

Wilderness Society says Murkowski is wrong.

"Recent history has shown that new production would have no impact on oil prices or U.S. energy security. When Alaska's much larger Prudhoe Bay oil field came on line in 1977, average U.S. gas prices doubled within four years," it said.

America should also develop other energy sources, according to Murkowski, including clean-burning coal.

"We should develop clean coal because we haven't built a new coal-fired plant in this country since the mid-1990s. We're talking about tearing dams out West. Our nuclear industry is strangling on its waste, yet 20 percent of our power comes from nuclear.

"As a consequence, the focus is more and more on natural gas, and as a consequence, we are seeing prices increase in natural gas," Murkowski said.

Murkowski said he believes America does too much offshore oil drilling, and said the government should open up a geological area known as the "overthrust" belt in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Montana and Alaska, where, according to Murkowski, "we have significant oil and gas potential."

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Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, said it doesn't have to be this way. He said opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration would increase our domestic production by nearly 1 million barrels a day. Murkowski said that's nearly twice the amount of oil we...
Clinton,Accused,Letting,Environmentalists,Dictate,Energy,Policy
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2000-00-01
Wednesday, 01 November 2000 12:00 AM
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