April 15, 2002
12:00 AM
WASHINGTON – Senator Frank H. Murkowski (R-AK), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today released the following statement regarding Middle East peace and the role of domestic energy production as thousands gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to rally in support of Israel: “Our nation’s continued reliance on foreign oil imports only empowers enemies of Israel like Saddam Hussein. Each day, we buy millions of barrels of foreign oil. Each day, millions of U.S. dollars fill Saddam’s bank accounts. Last year alone we sent more than $4.5 billion to Saddam for his oil – millions more through the indirect purchase of what was once smuggled crude oil. “Saddam uses that money to finance terror and reward Palestinian suicide bombers. We recently learned he now pays the families of bombers $25,000, up from $10,000. Saddam Hussein is sewing the seeds for further terror and bloodshed in Israel. “Through our policy of energy dependence, we are helping Saddam Hussein keep his grip on power. As long as Saddam Hussein is an American energy partner, he will continue to pose a direct threat to Israel. “American oil from ANWR is critical to Israel’s security. If we make a commitment to develop American oil, we can cut our imports and erode Saddam Hussein’s base of power. “We have the technology, ingenuity, and commitment to safely develop American oil. In the face of a Middle East in chaos and the looming threat of Saddam Hussein, we cannot afford to wait any longer. There is enough American oil in ANWR to replace more than a half-century of Iraqi oil imports. “Many of the leading Jewish organizations support the use of American oil. B’Nai B’Rith recently wrote President Bush saying ‘Ending our dependency on oil and natural gas from dictatorial regimes and authoritarian government that active sponsor international terrorist groups requires increasing domestic production...Such a plan includes exploration and extraction in the Arctic refuge.’ Americans for a Safe Israel, the Zionist Organization of America, and the American Jewish Congress have all expressed similar support as well. “There are many steps on the path to Middle East peace. We must not forget that the solutions to this crisis are found here at home, as well.”###