Energy exploration and developement in the arctic National wildlife refuge
Editors note: This is a copy of  a  letter, on this issue, by Pennsylvania U. S. Senator Rick Santorum.  It is a good review of the issue,
but he does not  appear to state his own position.
Thank you for contacting me regarding energy exploration and developement in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge  (ANWR). I hope the following update on this matter is helpful in addressing your concerns.
As you may know, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA,P.L.96-487) prohibits oil and gas developement in ANWR unless otherwise authorized by Congress. Oil companies will be prohibited to explore in ANWR if Congress take no legislative action or designates this area as wilderness. However, there have been legislative proposals in the Senate and the House of Represenatatives to approve exploration.

In the 107th Congress, two legislative actions to designate ANWR as wilderness were proposed. In February 2001, Sen Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut introduced S. 411, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge bill. Its companion bill in the House of representatives, H.R. 770, was introduced by Represenatative Edward Markey of Massachusetts. Both bills would prohibit developement in the area, and would create a wilderness designation.

S.411 has been referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and H.R. 770 has been referred to the House resources Committee, for further review and comment. As I am not a member of the House nor the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, I will not have an opportunity to vote on either bill in its current form.

You may also know that there have been several proposals in the Senate and House to allow oil exploration in ANWR. In February 2001, Sentator Frank Murkowski introduced S.388, the National Energy Security Act. The bill includes special protections for ANWR's unique resources and a provision to open up ANWR to exploration. The bill would limit exploration to the eight months of winter-a time when no caribou are in the are. The Secretary of the Interior would be required to prescribe rules and regulations that would, for example, prevent the unnecessary duplication of exploration facilities. The bill would also incorporate both legal requirements and incentives for holders of leases in the 1002 Are to protect the environment. Lease holders and their agents would be fully responsible and liable for the reclamation of lands adversely affected in connection with exploration, developement, production, and transportation activities. S. 338 has been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and several hearings on the bill have been held.

On August 1st, Representative Hohn Sununu of New Hampshire introduced House AmendmentNo. 296 and Amendment No. 297 to H.R.4, the Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) Act, in the Hous of Representatives. Amendment No. 296 would require that the federal share of new ANWR oil and gas production receipts goes toward: 1) the Renewable Energy Technology Investment Fund; and  2) the Royalties Conservation Fund. This amendment passed the House by a 241-186 vote. Amendment No. 297 would implement a 2,000-acre limitation on the total surface area that may be covered by oil and gas production operations in ANWR's coastal area. This amendment passed the House by a 228-201 vote. The SAFE Act passed tha house of Representatives by a 240-189 vote on August 2nd, and has been sent to the Senate for consideration. The Senate has not yet considered either H.R.4 or related Senate energy proposals.

As a member of the Senate Energy Task Force, I have been working to address the greater, pressing need for a comprehensive national energy policy. I believe that a solution to our current energy problem will include environmentally responsible domestic energy exporation. At the same time, Congress must continue to seek ways to preserve and protect our environment. Wise use of our resources and careful conservation of our public lands are essential so that we can leave a legacy of clean air, safe water, healthy oceans, unscarred land to future generations.

Should the full Senate consider any of the aforementioned legislation regarding ANWR, I will be sure to keep your views in mind. I am obligated as your Senator to balance preserving a healthy and sustainable environment for future generations with protecting the economic and national security interests of Pennsylvania's and America's citizens.

Your views will continue to be helpful to me as Congress drafts a comprehensive energy package. in the meantime, if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other matter,please do not hesitate to call on me again.

 
Sincerely,
Rick Santorum
United States Senate
February 14, 2002
Back To Environmental Issues Page
Back to Main Page