Thank you for contacting me regarding the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). I appreciate hearing from you and would like to respond to your concerns.
Finding new sources of domestic energy is critical to our national security. Today, our nation is 58 percent dependent on sources of energy from the Western Hemisphere, including 14 percent from Venezuela. Judging by recent political developments, Venezuela is not a stable or reliable source of oil for our country.
Hugo Chavez has actively been seeking new markets, such as China, for Venezuela?s oil, which would leave us struggling to replace a sizable percentage of our country?s needs with most likely very little warning. With today?s soaring oil and gasoline prices, we need to be forward thinking about world events and their effect on our oil supply.
We also need to think globally about environmental issues. Drilling in ANWR using the most advanced technology and strictest environmental regulations will keep environmental impact to a minimum. Drilling technologies such as multi-lateral drills and directional drilling are just two examples of ways we are now able to minimize environmental impact. Other countries are not necessarily following the same strict environmental standards used in the U.S., and this puts us in the position of exporting our own environmental concerns to countries with much looser environmental standards.
Drilling in ANWR – in a part of Alaska that was set aside by the Eisenhower administration in 1960 for oil and gas exploration, with overwhelming support from its population and congressional delegation, and under some of the strictest environmental standards in the world ? is a sound and balanced approach that will help alleviate our dependence on foreign sources of oil.
ANWR is a huge area encompassing over 19 million acres. The environmental footprint of oil and gas operations will be limited to 2,000 acres, which is roughly the size of Dulles International Airport in Virginia. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, ANWR is estimated to contain resources ranging from 7.7 billion to 10.9 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
As we address the need for development of domestic sources of energy, Florida?s moratorium on offshore drilling will remain firmly in place as one of my highest priorities.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. If you have any additional questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.
And my follow up:
I appreciate your quick response, and though your explanation seems reasonable, you have not explained how your arguments to support drilling in ANWR can not be then used against you to drill off the coast of Florida. I know the military is expressing the need for the Eastern Gulf for maneuvers, however outside that reason what are your defenses for not supporting exploration and drilling off our coasts? I must also express my doubts in the “strict” regulations you defend your choice with. From my perspective, this administration has loosened regulations from the day it took office, and I have severe doubts that this would be any different. And finally, could you explain how 8-11 billion gallons of oil justifies the potential risks and damage. At what expense is a years worth of oil? And when do we draw the line? How will you argue that 4 months worth of natural gas isn’t worth rigs off our beaches?
And finally Senator Martinez, how do you justify playing politics with a budget bill aimed for the military and potentially the lives of our countrymen and women?