WASHINGTON -- March 15 -- "The Sierra Club is proud to be here today standing strong with our Senate champions to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We're just hours away from a vote on this controversial issue in which drilling proponents - in an underhanded and abusive attempt to limit debate and amendment - will try to attach Arctic drilling to the Budget Resolution.
"They know that Americans support protecting, not plundering, this national treasure and that an open and honest debate would mean certain defeat. It's hard to believe that the democratic processes we enjoy here in America, indeed those same pillars of our democratic system we champion around the globe, are being undermined before our eyes.
"This controversial provision to drill the Arctic is an abuse of the budget process and has nothing to do with generating revenues for America. This action is based on speculative revenues and a speculative amount of oil. The risk to too great and the gain would be too little.
"As in past years, drilling advocates are claiming victory before the actual vote. And, as in past years, a strong, bipartisan coalition of Senators - backed by the will of the American people - will press on with a vigilant campaign to keep the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge where it belongs: wild and free and out of the budget.
"Americans are going to fight Arctic drilling every step of the way -- in the halls of Congress, on the phones, in the media and in their living rooms. Over the past week thousands of Americans across the country have gathered in their neighbors' homes, churches, schools, community centers, and movie theaters for "Arctic Action Day." They've written letters to their newspapers, called their members of Congress, and sought to educate their neighbors through community screenings of documentaries like Oil on Ice about the Arctic drilling fight.
"Their dedication is rooted in the knowledge that we have cheaper, quicker and cleaner energy choices that safeguard our last wild places, and in the belief that the federal budget is no place to make controversial policy decisions. The vast, unspoiled wilderness of America's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is more than a line item in the Federal Budget and it should not be destroyed for a short term fix of oil, but rather protected for future generations."