This past weekend, I had the privilege of joining Republican Leader John Boehner and nine other members of the House on an “American Energy Tour.” This trip explored the available natural resources that our nation has in Colorado and Alaska to increase domestic energy supply and decrease America’s rising gas costs.
Like I knew it would, the American Energy Tour unveiled the truth about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) — what Democrats in Washington don’t want the American people to know: This is a treasure trove of energy that will yield a lot with only minimal intrusion.
For far too long, Americans have been told by the environmentalist left that drilling in Alaska would hurt the abundant wildlife and natural resources there. This is simply not true. ANWR is a small part of the Arctic Circle in northern Alaska. Energy exploration would be limited to a small 2,000-acre lot with in ANWR. That is comparable to a postage stamp sitting on a football field. Visiting ANWR also revealed that almost no wildlife exists in the 2,000-acre area. It was flat arctic tundra with absolutely no trees in view. And, caribou and wildlife were nowhere near the possible drilling sites. Furthermore, we know that nine months out of the year this area is hidden under snow and ice and three months out of the year the area is covered in complete darkness.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that there are 10.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil in ANWR. And these estimates are based on exploration done in the 1970s. Federal moratoria on these lands have restricted even modern technological investigation of what oil reserves may be available for tapping. Imagine what modern surveying techniques might show.
It gets better; the EIA has also stated that the production of this oil would create an estimated as many as 750,000 American jobs. At a time when our nation is hurting because of rising food and gas costs, more domestic energy and new jobs would give the economy a much needed boost.
The fact of the matter is that Congress is standing in the way of $2-a-gallon gas. It is Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats who are refusing to let commonsense energy legislation come to the floor. The American people are hurting and gas prices are continuing to spiral out of control. But Congress continues to turn a deaf ear.
We have the resources available in areas like ANWR and Colorado to lower oil costs and decrease our dependence on foreign oil. I joined my congressional colleagues traveling 3,500 miles to investigate for ourselves and to prove that if we started drilling today, no harm would be done to the wildlife and natural beauty of our nation.
Congress must provide relief for American families and small businesses now. They must bring energy legislation to the floor and allow us to drill here, drill now, so that we can pay less at the pump.
– Michele Bachmann is a Republican member of the U.S House of Representatives from Minnesota.