25
Jun
2004

Victory on Arctic Refuge

YOUR calls and faxes made the difference -- House turns back Arctic drilling. THANK YOU!!!

Every once in a while, Congress provides us with a surprise that makes us smile. In one of the most cynical efforts we've seen in a long time, the U.S. House of Representatives prepared a bill for floor action on June 16th that would have authorized oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and then earmarked the speculative revenues from drilling to the abandoned mine reclamation fund -- a source of money that is used to reclaim old mines and to provide health benefits for retired miners.

What the House leadership did not count on was opposition from the very mine workers union that they had been courting. The United Mine Workers came out against the proposal when they realized the bill was attempting to replace the current revenue stream -- a coal tax -- with revenues that are speculative. Moreover, the miners union had been negotiating diligently and in good faith with the coal industry and members of Congress from eastern and western coal states to reauthorize the program, and saw the linkage with the Arctic Refuge as undercutting all of their work.

It's also clear that Members of Congress heard your calls and read your faxes opposing Arctic drilling. Those were a key part of this victory. THANK YOU!!!

The House's leadership action highlights the fact that the bill to drill in the Arctic Refuge was purely a political ploy that would have done nothing to address America's energy needs or to reduce gas prices for American consumers. Unfortunately, in Washington, bad ideas never die. Until the Refuge is permanently protected, we aren't taking anything for granted, and all of us will continue to work with our friends in the House and Senate to remain vigilant.
>> Read how the events unfolded on June 16th
//www.wilderness.org/OurIssues/Arctic/ArcticVictoryInHouse-June2004.cfm
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