Arctic Refuge Once Again Threatened By Bush Administration Drilling Plans

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Statement By Defenders Of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen

(11/11/2004) - Washington, DC -- In the face of broad public opposition, the Bush administration and pro-industry lawmakers are once again threatening to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil companies eager to mount drilling operations.

Despite the election results, the facts have not changed. Drilling in the Arctic Refuge would destroy one of our nation's last pristine wilderness areas. The Refuge is home to thousands of caribou, polar bears and other wildlife, not to mention millions of birds that migrate to the Refuge each year. Opening this area to oil drilling would irreversibly damage this vital wildlife habitat.

Moreover, drilling in the Refuge would do nothing to alleviate America's energy woes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Refuge contains only about as much oil as the US consumes in a six month period. And oil executives themselves admit that, even if they started drilling today, the oil in the Refuge wouldn't reach market for another ten years -- far too late to help with rising gas prices.

Poll after poll shows that the American people don't want to the Arctic Refuge opened to drilling. Defenders of Wildlife encourages U.S. Representatives and Senators to follow the will people on this vital issue rather than the want of oil executives.

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Defenders of Wildlife is one of the nation's most progressive advocates for wildlife and habitat, and was named as one of America's Top 100 Charities by Worth magazine. With more than 480,000 members and supporters, Defenders is an effective voice for wildlife and habitat. To learn more about Defenders of Wildlife, please visit www.defenders.org.

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Contact(s):

Deborah Bagocius, (202) 772-0239

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