No Drilling in the Arctic Refuge...For Now

(11/04/2003) - ANCHORAGE , AK -- Lawmakers seeking to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge have failed once again to garner the votes they need. Language opening the Refuge to oil and gas interests was dropped from the energy bill after it became clear that its inclusion could jeopardize final passage. GOP lawmakers sought to portray the remaining bill as a compromise, but environmental groups maintained that the remaining bill largely reflects the desires of the oil industry and would still be disastrous for the environment.  

"We are pleased that the Arctic Refuge has been given a reprieve, but we are still stuck with a disastrous bill that guts many important environmental protections," said Rodger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife.   "In the end, GOP lawmakers have crafted legislation that does more to line the pockets of corporate oil executives than it does to address our energy needs. It is yet another example of the priority the Bush Administration places on oil and gas exploration at the expense of the environment."  

"We are under no illusion that the battle over the Arctic Refuge is won. We remain wary of back door attempts to include provisions opening the Arctic Refuge to oil exploration. This is the premier item on Big Oil’s wish list. Their supporters in Congress are not likely to let the issue die,"added Schlickeisen.  


Defenders of Wildlife is a leading nonprofit conservation organization recognized as one of the nation's most progressive advocates for wildlife and its habitat. With more than 450,000 members and supporters, Defenders of Wildlife is an effective leader on environmental issues. For timely information on environmental issues, visit and subscribe to DENLines, a free e-mail alert newsletter.



Brad DeVries, (202) 772-0237
William Lutz, (202) 772-0269