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America's best interest

By By Trent Lott / U.S. senator
April 15, 2002
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has threatened to cease oil exports to America. He is also offering huge sums of money to Palestinian families for the sacrifice of their children as terrorist suicide bombers. These are two troubling examples of why America must stop buying oil from the likes of him.
Obtaining oil from an internationally despised solicitor of murder like Saddam Hussein is a risky, questionable practice. America must start using our own abundant domestic sources of energy, regardless of what a few left-leaning Washington special interest groups think.
Concerning the energy issue, Washington's special interests have little in common with America's best interest.
The Bush Administration has proposed opening a small portion of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge for energy exploration. Notice I said "small" portion. In fact, out of the 19 million acres in ANWR, only about 2,000 acres is being considered for energy exploration.
However, even though this footprint would be almost invisible, Washington's environmental special interest groups are in panic mode as the Senate begins debating ANWR energy. The special interests have put their propaganda machine in high gear, telling us that Alaskan energy exploration will be an environmental nightmare. It is a tactic which closely resembles the disinformation campaign Washington special interest groups launched against Judge Charles Pickering long on hysteria, short on truth.
For instance, Washington's special interests have painted ANWR as some sort of lush wilderness teaming with animal and plant life. However, the tiny portion being considered for energy exploration is basically a flat, desolate, and an almost inhospitable tundra. The only thing teaming there is oil.
Even using conservative estimates, this little portion of ANWR has more oil than all of Texas, anywhere from 6 to 16 billion barrels. ANWR energy from this tiny tract will equal 30 years of Saudi Arabian imports and more than 55 years of Iraqi oil imports  and best of all its in our country. With the Trans Alaskan pipeline less than 50 miles away, America could be using energy from ANWR in just a few short years.
The U.S. House has already passed a comprehensive National Energy Policy proposal which includes a plan to tap the vast energy resources in ANWR. However, the Senate is stalling, held back by liberals who seem more beholden to Washington's environmental lobby, than to the American people.
Since the House passed this proposal just a few short months ago, America has already bought almost 250 million barrels of oil from Saddam Hussein. This is money from you and me which he could use to finance suicide bombings, chemical weapons production, nuclear weapons research, terrorist training or other evil deeds. Yet, a few special interest groups in Washington are apparently unconcerned. They seem far more troubled about the fate of a tiny bit of frozen Alaskan dirt, than they do about America's future, and the threat posed by doing business with Saddam Hussein.
Beyond, ANWR, America has other domestic energy assets which should be on the table. We are known as the "Saudi Arabia of coal"  an abundant domestic energy source which can now be used very cleanly thanks to new technologies. Additionally, we must continue to pursue nuclear power and even new forms of alternative energy, such as solar power and wind power.
However, we must be realistic and acknowledge that our cars, appliances and industries will not be powered by windmills and solar panels tomorrow. America will need traditional fuels for the foreseeable future, and these fuels will come either from the Middle East or from our own country, including ANWR. Most Americans prefer the latter.
Though not endorsed by Washington's special interests, obtaining our domestic energy resources is obviously in America's best interest. With America having so much oil within a small part our own country, and given the increasing terrorist turmoil in the Middle East, clearly, those opposed to exploration in ANWR have little reason to fear, and every reason to change their mind.

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