Today, Congressman Adam Smith voted against the latest attempt by the Republican majority to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. The bill on the House floor today, H.R. 5429, repeals the prohibition against production or leasing of oil and gas resources in ANWR and is similar to recent efforts to open the Coastal Plain of ANWR for exploration and drilling.

Smith said, “Our country needs to develop a long term sustainable energy policy. It is in our national interest to become more energy self-sufficient.  However, drilling in ANWR will not provide us with enough oil to reduce our dependence on Middle East oil in a meaningful way.  Estimates show that drilling in ANWR would only account for six months of our nation’s entire oil supply, and that assumes we are able to extract every last drop of oil.  The percentage of our oil supply that comes from domestic sources would increase by just a very small amount.  Also, we could not even begin to use that oil for at least ten years.  The bottom line is that we are dependent on oil, and this bill does nothing to reduce that dependence. Instead of drilling in ANWR, we must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by developing real alternatives.”

“I am committed to crafting an energy plan that focuses on the long term needs of our country,” said Smith.  “A balanced, forward-thinking plan takes into account our dependency on fossil fuels, but also harnesses the technologies of the future, to make our current energy use far more efficient, and to develop new, cleaner sources of energy.”

Smith also notes, “We have made great strides in the past 100 years in developing numerous technologies that have vastly improved our standard of living. Those accomplishments demonstrate our capability to take on any challenge by developing new innovations.  We should work towards making the United States a net exporter of energy rather than a net importer within our children’s lifetime.  With new energy sources such as solar panels, fuel cells, and geothermal under development, our country could one day serve as the largest energy provider to the world.  We would fulfill not only our own energy needs, but have other countries rely on us to fulfill theirs, a complete reversal from the present situation we find ourselves in.”

“The bill that was before the House today did not have the vision to lessen our dependence on oil,” said Smith. “I voted against this bill because we should make the commitment to developing alternative energy sources, not drilling in pristine nature reserves.”