"The Senate's approval of legislation to open a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a welcome critical step towards a comprehensive national energy policy that includes developing domestic oil and gas supplies.
"The vote is also a recognition that there is a cost to inaction, and that such a cost falls heavy on American consumers. A comprehensive national energy strategy is needed to secure our nation's economic future through affordable, reliable and secure energy supplies.
"With their use of ever-improving cutting-edge technology, our companies have established a proven record of responsible exploration in the Arctic. Exploration and production would take place in only a small portion of ANWR – .01 percent of its entire area. ANWR was set aside by Congress in 1980 for possible exploration.
"ANWR alone cannot provide us with all the energy we need, but combined with the development of other domestic oil and natural gas supplies – along with greater energy efficiency and diversification – it would make a tremendous difference. ANWR is estimated to have 10.4 billion barrels of oil, which is slightly larger than the initial estimates of the Prudhoe Bay discovery – and those estimates more than doubled once exploration was allowed. ANWR could provide the equivalent of current oil imports from Saudi Arabia for more than 20 years."
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