ATA president says Arctic refuge drilling ‘important’

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At a news conference on Capitol Hill, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves argued the importance of opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as part of a comprehensive national energy plan.

Graves joined U.S. Senators Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, along with Department of Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, in detailing how opening the Alaskan refuge possibly could help reduce U.S. reliance on foreign energy sources. Representatives from the American Legion, Teamsters, the Republican Jewish Coalition and a delegation of Alaska Inupiaq also attended the Friday, Oct. 28 news conference.

“An uninterrupted fuel supply is essential to meet the nation’s transportation needs,” Graves said. “ANWR represents one very important component of this comprehensive strategy. As a domestic energy source, ANWR can provide a means to further protect the nation from disruptions and fluctuations in the foreign oil markets.”

ATA recently called upon the Bush administration to implement strategic plans that would prevent fuel prices from limiting the long-term potential of the economy and, to the extent possible, reduce U.S. reliance on overseas oil. Such plans include expanding U.S. refining capacity and establishing a single national fuel standard. ATA also believes that environmentally sound exploration of the Alaskan refuge could serve as an important part of a long-term energy plan.

The U.S. Department of Interior estimates that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge holds between 9 and 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil.