House Should Approve New Energy Exploration

Contact: Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273

Washington, D.C., November 9, 2005—The Competitive Enterprise Institute urges the House of Representatives to keep provisions on new oil and natural gas exploration in ANWR and the Outer Continental Shelf in the budget reconciliation legislation expected to be voted on this week. The Senate has already approved language allowing exploration in a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as did the House itself earlier this year. 

“Polls show that Americans now consider high energy prices to be the biggest economic threat facing the country.  The only proposal that has a chance to pass the Congress that addresses this concern is the ANWR and OCS package in the budget bill,” said Myron Ebell, Director of Global Warming & International Environmental Policy.

“The effort by a small group of liberal Republicans to strip out the ANWR provision is based on the belief that energy prices are really not high enough.  I would like to see these liberal Republican House members come out in the open and try to make that argument to the American people,” Ebell concluded.     

The budget reconciliation bill includes ANWR plus new provisions to allow states to opt out of the moratoriums on OCS oil and gas production on the Atlantic, Pacific, and eastern Gulf coasts.  The mean U.S. Geological Survey estimate for recoverable reserves under ANWR’s coastal plain is 10.4 billion barrels, which is equivalent to 30 years of oil imports from Saudi Arabia, one of America’s largest foreign suppliers.  The Outer Continental Shelf areas potentially contain much larger oil and natural gas reserves.

“Contrary to claims by environmental pressure groups, oil and gas production in ANWR would have little environmental impact on the surrounding ecosystem,” said Adjunct Scholar R.J. Smith. “Thirty years of oil operations in Alaska’s North Slope have shown that large populations of native wildlife can thrive even in close proximity to production facilities.”