Statement by Karen Wayland, NRDC Legislative Director

WASHINGTON (March 16, 2006) -- Passing a budget resolution crafted exclusively to allow oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. Senate today circumvented normal legislative channels and undermined the federal budget process to pave the way for special interests obsessed with drilling in the Arctic Refuge, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

A budget resolution is the only bill that cannot be filibustered in the Senate.

This vote to open protected public land to oil drilling comes less than two weeks after the largest oil spill to strike Alaska's North Slope was discovered. The spill went undetected for five days. (See "Large Oil Spill in Alaska Went Undetected for Days" The New York Times, 3/15/06.)

Following is a statement by Karen Wayland, NRDC's legislative director:

"Orchestrating a federal budget plan to allow Arctic drilling really takes the cake when it comes to special interest politics. This move only serves to pay back big energy companies that have been hauling in record profits."

"This sham budget resolution has nothing to do with our nation's budgetary priorities, and even less to do with energy security. Consumers won't even feel any real effect from oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge for at least 20 years. Even then, the government's own experts say it will reduce gas prices by only about a penny a gallon.

"We hope the House will show more integrity about our nation's fiscal and energy needs with its budget plan."