Senate Passes Budget Bill With Arctic Drilling Provision

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Statement of Rodger Schlickeisen, President, Defenders of Wildlife

(11/03/2005) - Today the Senate approved budget legislation that includes a provision opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.  Although today’s Senate vote is a setback, Congressional approval of Arctic drilling is far from a done deal.  The battle between protectors and exploiters of our nation’s precious natural resources continues next week in the House where there is substantial opposition to the budget bill, largely due to the Arctic drilling provision. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been off limits to drilling for decades. We call on Members of the House of Representatives to protect this last pristine wilderness by rejecting the Budget Reconciliation bill when it comes to the floor. 

All along, drilling proponents have used an array of unorthodox maneuvers to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.  By burying the language in a budget bill, they purposefully side-stepped an honest, open, public debate and ducked an up or down vote on the issue.

By the government’s own calculations, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will do nothing to relieve gas prices or our dependence on foreign reserves.  In fact, government studies show even in 20 years from now, drilling in the refuge would save Americans just one penny on a gallon of gas.

Defenders of Wildlife and our allies will continue our work to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for as long as it takes.  The hundreds of thousands of polar bears, caribou, musk oxen and millions of migratory birds that call this land home -- and future generations of Americans -- are depending on House members to vote against this bill. The House must do what the Senate did not and protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from short-sighted, pro-drilling interests. 

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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 490,000 members and supporters, Defenders of Wildlife is an effective leader on endangered species issues.

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Contact(s):

Deborah Bagocius, (202) 772-0239
William Lutz, (202) 682-9400

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