House Passes Energy Bill Containing ANWR Proposal

The House of Representatives today passed the Energy Policy Act of 2003 which will enact a comprehensive national energy plan. Yesterday, by a vote of 197-228, the House voted against an amendment that would disallow responsible exploration of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Dozens of democrats crossed party lines to defeat the amendment and create tens of thousands of new jobs and enhance America's energy independence.

According to the Energy Department, the 1.5 million acre coastal plain of the 19.6 million acre ANWR is the "largest unexplored, potentially productive onshore oil basin in the United States."

Support is waning among those who continue to block the opening of ANWR and the jobs it will create. As it did two years ago, the House called for opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development, but yesterday's 31-vote margin on the ANWR amendment was much stronger than the 2001 vote that was decided by 17 votes.

President Bush had this to say:

"I commend the House for passing comprehensive and balanced energy legislation. The House legislation will increase America's energy independence by diversifying our sources of renewable energy, expanding new technology, and increasing environmentally responsible exploration. This bill is a major step forward in the effort to secure our Nation's energy future, in keeping with my National Energy Policy. I look forward to prompt Senate action and to working to ensure that fiscally responsible legislation to reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy can be brought to my desk."