President Clinton Reveals To Conservationists His Plans To Veto Legislation Threatening Arctic Refuge

Printer-friendly version
(09/21/1995) - Washington, D.C. - Returning from a White House meeting this afternoon with Alice Rivlin, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, Defenders of Wildlife Rodger Schlickeisen reports that conservationists are thrilled by Rivlin's news that the President definitely plans to veto the reconciliation bill if it contains language "to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling." Schlickeisen said that, "The President's promise of a veto means it will be impossible for the Alaska delegation to continue hiding behind the skirts of the budget reconciliation bill. Now if they want to try to plunder this unique and priceless part of the public lands belonging to all Americans . . . they are going to have to do it in full view of the public itself. " Lauding President Clinton's resolve, Schlickeisen released this statement:
President Clinton has now sent the clearest possible signal to the Alaska congressional delegation that their attempt to quietly use a backdoor maneuver to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling will not succeed. The Alaska congressmen intended to sneak their special interest provision into law by hiding it amidst the scores of other items included in the omnibus budget reconciliation bill.

But the President has now spoken out in favor of continued protection for the coastal plain, which is the biological heart of the nation's richest wildlife refuge. In a letter to Alaska's Senator Frank Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Alice Rivlin, Director of the President's Office of Management and Budget, states unequivocally that the President will veto any reconciliation bill that "includes language to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas drilling...."

The significance of the letter should not be lost on the Congress, which has yet to vote on the reconciliation bill. Clearly that bill is destined to include a long list of provisions that could produce threats of a Presidential veto. The fact that the President has identified the Arctic refuge drilling issue as one that by itself will cause him to veto the bill means that issue is non-negotiable.

The President's promise of a veto means it will be impossible for the Alaska delegation to continue hiding behind the skirts of the budget reconciliation bill. Now if they want to try to plunder this unique and priceless part of the public lands belonging to all Americans, they are going to have to convince their colleagues to stand by them and do it in full view of the public itself.

###

Contact(s):

Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270