Republican News

WASHINGTON, D.C.– “At this moment, U.S. military forces in five Middle East nations are at THREATCON DELTA,” Chairman Frank H. Murkowski said today at the National Press Club. “Threat Condition DELTA, means intelligence has been received indicating terrorist actions against the National Command Authority or Department of Defense personnel are likely and imminent. “Remember...the U.S. forces at risk are in place to protect oil we depend on from the Middle East. Our dependence on Middle East oil illustrates the failure of our energy policy and constitutes a threat to our national security.” Murkowski explained, “It doesn’t have to be this way.” For example, just opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain to exploration would increase our domestic production capability by nearly one million barrels a day. That is nearly twice the amount we import from Iraq. Murkowski pointed to two recent polls by major newspapers that indicate the American people support opening the ANWR. The Christian Science Monitor reported on Oct. 18 that 54 percent of those polled (803 likely voters) are for oil drilling in the ANWR and 38 percent against. The Chicago Tribune on October 30, published a poll that says 52 percent of those polled (899 registered voters) agreed with Gov. Bush’s plan to increase drilling in Alaska in the ANWR while 33 percent sided with Vice President Al Gore, who opposes the plan. By discouraging domestic production, the Clinton/Gore Administration has forced the nation to be more dependent on foreign oil, placing our national security at risk. “Recent events in the Middle East have given us yet another reminder that we are being held hostage to foreign oil.” “The Middle East is a tinderbox and some of our most impassioned enemies are already lighting fires. Yet we are unable to respond because our foreign policy interests have been compromised as a result of our failed energy policy–that consists of only one doctrine: increase reliance on foreign oil.” “ How can we be an ‘honest broker’ in the Middle East peace process when we are beholden to Israel’s sworn enemy–Saddam Hussein–to keep our citizens warm this winter?” asked the Chairman. Our response to Iraq has been muted for one reason only. “We need their oil: 600,000 barrels per day. What little energy policy we do have–reliance on imported oil–has come into conflict with our foreign policy.” The Clinton/Gore Administration’s inattention to maintaining the United Nations coalition against Iraq has left the sanctions regime in shambles. “There is no weapons inspection in Iraq; American military missions have de-escalated; Iraqi flights across Saudi airspace and the no-fly zone have increased. Turkey, Syria and Lebanon are sending flights to Baghdad despite the UN ban; and a Russian airline has announced plans to begin regular passenger flight to Baghdad by the end of the year.” Murkowski asked, “Does anyone doubt he will import the materials he needs to begin rebuilding weapons of mass destruction?” The Chairman said however that it is not too late. “We can re-assert American leadership by assuring that our energy policy and our foreign policy are working to achieve common goals. We can start by adopting a strong energy policy to reduce our reliance on foreign oil imports.” “We need a portfolio of options to ensure a safe, secure and affordable energy supply for the decades to come.” “We can do this by increased domestic production of oil and natural gas to meet today’s consumer demands for energy; increased use of alternative fuels and renewable energy to help us transition into the technologies of tomorrow; and improved energy efficiency to save American consumers money, and reduce emissions of pollutants/greenhouse gases,” said Murkowski. ####