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Human Rights Watch

DECEMBER 15, 2005
2:54 PM

CONTACT: Sierra Club
Annie Strickler (202) 675-2384

Arctic Refuge Drilling Has No Place on Defense Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON - December 15 Alaska Coalition # Alaska Wilderness League* Defenders of Wildlife *  Earthjustice * Friends of the Earth * League of Conservation Voters *  National Audubon Society * National Wildlife Federation * Natural Resources Defense Council * Republicans for Environmental Protection * The Sierra Club * Trustees for Alaska * The Wilderness Society *  US Public Interest Research Group

As disingenuous as it was to consider Arctic Refuge drilling in budget reconciliation, its proponents should not be permitted to trade one cheap trick for another. Their most recent statements claiming the Defense Appropriations bill a suitable vehicle are indefensible. An Arctic drilling provision would force a delay and likely doom passage of funding for our troops on the ground in Iraq and elsewhere. In addition, the Defense Appropriations bill has other important provisions that should be allowed to proceed without the inevitable procedural hurdles and lengthy floor debate that will be triggered by including a scheme as controversial as Arctic Refuge drilling. 

This Arctic Refuge drilling proposal has no business in the Defense Appropriations bill.  It is a cynical, politically-motivated scheme to hijack important national policy priorities for the sake of a narrow, special-interest agenda that has otherwise failed to pass muster in this Congress. It would be a national disgrace to consider forever spoiling this national treasure, especially in the context of legislation that is supposed to support our men and women in uniform while our nation remains at war.

Our national defense is too important to stall due to efforts to make a special interest back room deal.


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