Drilling in Alaska Will Not Move America Beyond Oil

WASHINGTON (May 24, 2006) -- Members of the House of Representatives are understandably concerned about high energy costs and America's oil addiction. But as they prepare to go home and face voters at the start of the summer driving season, the lawmakers appear headed toward a dead-end.

Instead of taking genuine actions to move America beyond oil, the House is poised as early as tomorrow to approve opening the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

"It is just another giveaway to Big Oil, and a political fig leaf for members who want to claim they are doing something about the energy crisis," said Karen Wayland, NRDC's legislative director. "This proposal deserves the same fate as the Senate's much-ridiculed and now-abandoned plan to bribe consumers with a $100 gas check."

Opening the Arctic Refuge would not produce any oil for use until 2016-and even then, such oil would only reduce gas prices by a penny per gallon by 2020, according to the U.S. government's own data, Wayland said.

"The public should demand real answers from their elected officials," Wayland said. "A good start would be a genuine commitment to reducing our consumption of oil and shifting to renewable energy sources, which together are the fastest, cheapest and cleanest path to energy independence."

"By using technologies available right now, we can cut oil consumption and reduce the heat-trapping pollution responsible for global warming."