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Ryan Votes to Reduce Dependence on Foreign Oil

Legislation Would Allow Limited Exploration, Production in ANWR with Stringent Environmental Protections

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May 25, 2006 | Kate Matus ((202) 226-7326) | comments
WASHINGTON – First District Congressman Paul Ryan today voted for legislation that would permit limited, environmentally sound oil and gas exploration and production in a designated part of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in order to reduce our dependence on costly foreign oil. The U.S. House of Representatives passed this legislation – H.R. 5429, the American-Made Energy and Good Jobs Act – by a vote of 225-201. The bill awaits action in the U.S. Senate, which has in the past blocked approval of this plan to increase our nation’s access to domestic oil and gas supplies. 

H.R. 5429 authorizes the Interior Department to grant leases for oil and gas exploration, development, and production in ANWR’s coastal plain, while maintaining stringent environmental standards. While ANWR covers nearly 20 million acres (roughly the size of Indiana), under this proposal, the total surface area covered by production facilities such as drilling platforms or airstrips would not exceed 2,000 acres – about the size of Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport. In addition, the use of 21st century technology and regulatory safeguards will help protect the region’s wildlife and habitat.

The legislation also includes an export ban of all oil or gas obtained from ANWR, to ensure that these supplies are only for domestic use in the United States. Furthermore, enabling exploration and production in ANWR would bring with it hundreds of thousands of new jobs. 

At peak production, energy development on ANWR’s northern coastal plain could deliver to the lower 48 states an additional 1.5 million barrels of oil per day – about equal to the daily supply America lost in the Gulf of Mexico due to Hurricane Katrina. According to estimates by the Energy Information Administration, ANWR’s oil deposits could replace our current imports from Saudi Arabia for 20 years. 

“If we are going to solve the current energy crisis, we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Over time, alternative fuels hold great promise, but today our economy still relies heavily on oil and gas. We should pursue environmentally safe exploration in a limited area of ANWR as part of the solution,” Ryan said. “We also need to streamline the permit process to allow new refineries to be built in the U.S. and reduce the number of boutique fuels required throughout the country. I have repeatedly advanced legislation to tackle the boutique fuels problem and simplify our gasoline system and will continue pushing to enact legislation in the coming weeks.”
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