ANWR Oil Would Save One Penny on Price of Gasoline
WASHINGTON — Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) would create only a small number of jobs and provide enough oil to lower gasoline prices by only one penny a gallon, according to a report released Thursday from Democratic lawmakers opposed to opening the refuge. Senate Republicans are expected to try to amend a pending energy bill to allow drilling in the Alaskan refuge, arguing the project would help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and create jobs.
The Democratic report concludes the number of new jobs that would result from drilling in the refuge would total about 65,000 by 2020. That figure is less that one-tenth of the 735,000 jobs that Republicans, labor unions, oil companies, and other pro-drilling forces contend would be created. "We believe the Arctic drilling numbers are woefully unrealistic and inflated," said Democrat Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, the chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.
The refuge, located on Alaska's northern coast, is one of the most divisive issues in the Senate's current debate to write a broad U.S. energy policy to increase domestic energy production and conservation. The refuge, stretching over 19 million acres, is home to polar bears, caribou, and other wildlife, who environmental activists say must be protected.
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