New move to sacrifice Arctic wildlife for oil
Washington, DC, US - The US House of Representatives has passed a broad energy bill that endorses the Bush administration plan to open part of the Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling.
The latest in a series of failed attempts to open the refuge to oil drilling, this legislation comes less than one month after the rejection by the US Senate of a provision to include leasing revenues from drilling in the refuge in the US budget for fiscal year 2004 — a backdoor manoeuvre that would set the stage for opening the refuge to drilling without full and open debate in Congress.
The US Senate Energy Committee will continue writing its own energy bill next month, which currently does not allow drilling in the refuge. Differences between the Senate and House of Representatives bills will need to be reconciled before President Bush can sign a final energy bill into law.
Brooks Yeager, WWF-US Vice President, Global Threats, issued the following statement in response to response to the 10 April action in the House of Representatives on the Energy Policy Act of 2003:
"The 10 April votes are unfortunate but they do not change the fact that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been rejected twice in the past year by the Senate and lacks support from a majority of Americans. We are confident that the final energy bill will not include any measure that authorizes drilling in the refuge.
"Other provisions in the bill reflect the unwillingness of many in Congress to grapple with global warming, the most important environmental impact of energy consumption. Instead of moving the nation towards an energy policy based on energy efficiency and renewables this bill commits the country to greater reliance on oil and coal which will increase the carbon dioxide pollution that causes global warming.
"The Arctic Refuge protects some of the world's most spectacular wilderness and wildlife, including the Porcupine caribou herd, which migrate to the refuge's coastal plain each spring in one of North America's last great mammal migrations. WWF considers the coastal plain of the Arctic Ocean to be one of the world's most critical ecosystems for biodiversity protection."
For further information:
Communications Officer, WWF-US
Tel: +1 202 778 9544