October 12, 2001
12:00 AM
WASHINGTON -- Alaska Sen. Frank H. Murkowski, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, released the following statement after comments made by Sen. Tom Daschle regarding a debate on energy: “I see some progress in Senator Daschle’s comments. At least he is willing to take up this issue on the floor. But why is the Democrat leadership so afraid to give ANWR a straight up or down vote? Why do we need 60 votes to pass this? Senator Daschle is just using the rules to subvert the will of the majority of the Senate. “The Senate is working only three days a week. When Senator Daschle talks about dealing with energy when we get done with essential business, we could be dealing with this next week, if he wanted. “ANWR is far from the most sensitive part of Alaska, as Senator Daschle claims. It is not pristine -- there is a village there with an airport, with homes and businesses. Advanced technology will ensure exploration won’t disturb the environment. The development foot print will only be 2,000 acres out of 19 million in the entire ANWR -- the size of South Carolina. It won’t take 10 years to get the oil flowing -- we built the Pentagon in 18 months in an emergency. We can accomplish great engineering feats when our world is challenged. “The Carnahan amendment that Senator Daschle referred to had nothing to do with the airline security bill. An energy bill that ignores the most important new source of oil, ANWR, is certainly something that should not be filibustered or treated in the same fashion as the Carnahan bill, which was a health care bill on the air security bill. “An Alaskan natural gas pipeline isn’t going to do anything to help reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. The owners of the Alaska gas have indicated it’s not economic at this time. There isn’t even an application submitted to build this line. Is Senator Daschle suggesting the federal government spend the $20 billion to build the pipeline? Ultimately, these very separate issues must stand alone. Senator Daschle needs to understand the difference between oil and gas. “The President said yesterday that our energy security is a part of our national security. He called on Congress to give him a comprehensive energy bill. The House has done its job. Senator Daschle should give us a date certain so that the Senate can do theirs. If he wants to put a 60-vote requirement on an issue as important to national security as energy, each Senator is going to have to recognize his obligations to our national security as opposed to environmental extremists.” said Murkowski. ###