Statement by Dale Bryk, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on President Bush's Press Conference on the Economy

“Today, the president was trying to distract us from the results of his own failed energy policy. The best way to lower gas prices is to apply American ingenuity to making and marketing fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles. Instead, the president focused on opening pristine wilderness areas to drilling. Spoiling wilderness for future generations would do nothing but enrich oil companies and perpetuate this country’s addiction to oil. It would not lower gas prices.

“A federal court just ruled that the administration must issue a final decision by May 15 on listing the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. With these protections right around the corner, the president's suggestions to drill are even more unrealistic.

“Despite the president’s rhetoric today, America’s investments in alternative fuels and vehicles have been paltry. We can solve our energy problems, and protect both our wilderness and our climate. All it takes is a sensible energy policy that puts our resources where they’re needed and unlocks American ingenuity and competitiveness. We need a concrete limit on global warming pollution, along with a market-based system which rewards companies for delivering clean, renewable energy and transportation. In the long run, that will lower overall energy costs for everyone.”