Department of the Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Shane Wolfe
For Immediate Release:March 16, 2005
Statement by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton

Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton today issued the following statement regarding the Senate vote on a motion to strike a portion of the Senate Budget Resolution assuming federal revenues from an oil and gas leasing program in Alaska's 1002 Area:

"Today the U.S. Senate cast a vote for America's energy security.

"By advancing President Bush's proposal for environmentally responsible energy production in Alaska's 1002 Area, the Senate has also fulfilled a commitment to Alaska residents, who strongly support energy production in the region.

"This energy production would generate billions of dollars in revenue for the Federal Treasury as well as the State of Alaska.

"It is important for all Americans to remember that the 1002 Area 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, making it America's greatest onshore prospect for future oil. At peak production, the 1002 Area could produce one-million barrels of oil per day, which would make up 20 percent of our current U.S. daily oil production.

"Today's victory was, indeed, a narrow one, as was a crucial 1973 Senate vote which led to construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. That pipeline system has become a vital component in America's energy infrastructure, transporting more than 14 billion barrels of oil to meet the energy needs of American families.

"This action is a crucial step in President Bush's plan for reducing America's dependence on foreign sources of energy through conservation, development of renewable energy sources and increased domestic production of traditional energy.

"The Department of the Interior is committed to working to ensure that energy production in the 1002 Area is environmentally responsible and does not result in any significant adverse effect on the wildlife or the environment on Alaska's North Slope. In addition, we look forward to working with the Congress to implement the President's plan for a more secure energy future for America."




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