WASHINGTON - April 27 - "In a Congress that brings a new definition to the word cynical, the latest ploy to bribe the American people into drilling in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is to offer an insulting $100 tax rebate. In this same week that the oil industry is announcing another quarter of record-breaking profits, a handful of Senators proposed a measure that would hardly make a scratch in the cost of gas for Americans, and instead would further our oil dependence, do nothing to lower gas prices while destroying a pristine national treasure--and will only benefit the bloated oil industry.
"Attaching the measure to drill the priceless Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to emergency spending for the Iraq war and Katrina relief is an abuse of power, and a great to disservice to our troops that would spoil forever a national treasure--linking the measure to a $100 tax rebate only adds insult to injury for all Americans. Congress should stand strong and reject this exploitation of our troops, hurricane victims and our natural heritage.
"It is a cynical, politically-motivated scheme to bribe Americans for a 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.
"Drilling proponents have failed to include Arctic drilling on energy, budget and defense bills. Desperately, attempting to bribe the American people with $100 is a new low.
"Americans want real energy solutions that protect special places like the Arctic Refuge. Drilling proponents tried every excuse, but Americans know that Arctic drilling would not put a dent in our dependence on foreign oil, would do nothing to strengthen our national security, and would not save consumers money at the pump. To address America's energy problems, the Senate should instead increase the fuel economy of cars, trucks and SUVs, boost energy efficiency, and increase our use of renewable energy like wind and solar power.
"A recent report from the U.S. Department of Energy’s own Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that even 20 years down the road, when Arctic Refuge oil would be at or near peak production, gas prices would only be affected by about a penny per gallon. The United States sits on just 3 % of the world's known petroleum reserves. Government estimates indicate that there is less than a year’s supply of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and even the oil industry admits it would take 10 years to make it to US markets."