Department of the Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Shane Wolfe
For Immediate Release: July 29, 2005
(202) 208-6416
Statement by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton on  Passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005

(WASHINGTON) - Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton today issued the following statement in response to congressional passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005:

"By passing this significant energy legislation, Congress has enacted a vital component of President Bush's comprehensive energy policy," said Norton.

"This energy bill encourages conservation, promotes development of renewable energy sources and helps grow the American economy. Notably, this legislation helps expand our domestic supplies of energy by encouraging new technologies for production here at home.

"This legislation facilitates Interior's important mission in providing energy for Americans. It enhances production of renewable energy by harnessing the power of wind, waves and currents in federal off-shore waters, modernizes our coal leasing practices and includes a number of provisions relating to non-conventional energy sources such as oil shale and methane hydrates.

"This legislation establishes a meaningful Indian energy program, which enables energy production on the lands of tribes with the capacity and desire to take a larger role in developing the energy resources on their lands.

"Additionally, this legislation streamlines the process for the development of small energy projects throughout the country, while maintaining environmental safeguards.

"I congratulate Chairman Barton, Representative Dingell, Chairman Domenici and Senator Bingaman on the success of their bipartisan work in the Conference Committee and commend them for their leadership in seeing this important legislation through. I also commend Chairman Pombo and Representative Rahall for their hard work on many of these important provisions contained in this bill.

"I look forward to working with members of Congress to ensure final passage of legislation that will further reduce our dependence on foreign oil by allowing environmentally responsible energy production in the 1002 Area of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an area that is America's greatest onshore prospect for future oil."

NOTE: The 1002 Area of ANWR was set aside in 1980 by former President Jimmy Carter and a Democrat-controlled Congress for potential oil and gas development and is expected to contain a mean estimate of 10.4 billion barrels of oil. At peak production, the 1002 Area could produce one million barrels of oil per day, which would make up about 20 percent of our current U.S. daily oil production. Language supporting energy production in the 1002 Area has been passed separately by majorities in both the House and the Senate earlier this year. It is expected that the issue will next be considered as part of budget reconciliation legislation.
NOTE: One-third of domestic natural gas, oil and coal are produced on lands and offshore areas managed by the Department of the Interior.


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