Drilling in the Arctic has nothing to do with the budget nor with generating revenues for America. The figures put forward in the reconciliation package are highly speculative at best. Both the House and Senate assume $2.4 billion in revenues from Arctic drilling, a number that is inflated to 80 times the going rate for oil leases in the region. If they really cared about high prices, they would be looking into why oil companies are raking in record profits in the wake of the recent hurricanes.
The issue of oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge is too important to the American public and future generations to be snuck through in the budget bill in an attempt to circumvent the established process. It should be fully debated and brought to a vote on its own merits.
Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would not put a dent in our dependence on foreign oil, would do nothing to strengthen our national security, and would not save consumers a dime at the pump. But the harm to wildlife and this spectacular wilderness would be permanent and irreparable.
Americans deserve a cheaper, quicker, safer and cleaner energy policy that safeguards the wild places we care so deeply about. We cannot drill our way to energy independence, but we can embrace responsible measures and real, 21st Century energy solutions that make cars go farther on a gallon of gas, promote conservation, invest in clean renewable energy, and protect our natural heritage.
By simply increasing fuel efficiency standards for our cars to an average of 40 miles per gallon we could save more oil than we currently import from the Persian Gulf or could ever extract from the Arctic Refuge, combined.