WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Pete Domenici joined his Budget Committee colleagues in approving a deficit reduction package that will draw down government spending by $39 billion over the next five years, in part by allowing energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Domenici noted that the Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005 is the first significant budget reduction package produced by the Senate since 1997. Of equal importance, by authorizing environmentally-sensitive development of U.S. oil reserves in the Arctic, the legislation will do more to stabilize gasoline prices than any legislation in recent memory, he said.
Chairman Domenici’s statement:
“We passed an energy bill this summer that does more for energy efficiency than we have done in years. The energy bill diversifies our supply and increases the production of clean energies like nuclear power and clean coal as well as renewable energies like wind and solar power. But the energy bill didn’t do as much as I would have liked to increase the domestic production of oil.
“For that, we looked to the ANWR component of the budget reconciliation. This provision will bring more than 10 billion barrels of oil to the lower 48 states in the next several years. Frankly, we should have developed the oil in ANWR 10 years ago. If we had had that oil after Katrina and Rita, I don’t believe we would have seen $3 a gallon gasoline.
“For the sake of our economy and our energy security, we must produce more of our own oil. I am pleased that we are stepping up to the plate and taking more responsibility for our energy future.”
As instructed by the FY2006 Budget Resolution, the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee approved legislation that will increase federal receipts by $2.5 billion between 2006 and 2010 by developing oil and gas on 2,000 acres of the coastal plain of ANWR.
Economically, the $2.5 billion from bonus bids is only the beginning. Royalties payable to the federal government are expected to exceed $1 billion annually for an estimated 30 years once production begins.