Congressmna David reichert is a freshman Congressman from Washington State’s 8th District. He opposes exploration for oil in ANWR. If ANWR exploration is authorized by the Congress, I couldn’t care less what he thinks. If, however, ANWR exploration does not make it into the final budget deficit reduction bill that is now headed for conference, or if it does make it into the bill and is defeated by the House with Reichert voting no, then Washinton State voters should retire Mr. Reichert in November, 2006. Here’s the Congressman’s response to one of his constituents on the subject:
Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding drilling in the Arctic Wildlife National Refuge (ANWR). I appreciate the opportunity to respond.
First, I’d like to say that as someone who has lived in the Pacific Northwest for almost my entire life, I have a great appreciation and interest in protecting our nation’s wilderness. I believe it is important that we preserve our national resources for our children and grandchildren to enjoy, which is why I have co-sponsored legislation such as the National Park Centennial Act and the Wild Sky Wilderness Act, both of which seek to fulfill this objective.
I believe we must look for ways to decrease our dependence on foreign oil and I am not entirely convinced that drilling in the ANWR would produce these results. We should be focusing greater attention on renewable energy sources, alternate fuels, and more efficient systems that would yield more net energy savings than could come from ANWR and would have a higher benefit on the nation’s economic leadership and security.
In the Puget Sound, we are already working towards that goal. King County and the City of Seattle have 235 hybrid buses on the road, plus additional smaller hybrid vehicles. Companies located in the 8th Congressional district have received a considerable amount of positive attention from the Department of Energy for their technologies that reduce air pollution and carbon emissions and strengthen the nation’s energy security. Gas stations and farmers in the region are exploring renew! able opportunities associated with the bio-fuel business. In fact, the Issaquah Grange has recently opened the region’s first bio-diesel pump. These are important events that will help reduce our dependency on foreign oil and stimulate economic growth.
The budget reconciliation process is a unique process that is not the appropriate vehicle to deal with such a controversial issue regarding the environment. After joining my colleagues in signing on to two different letters urging ANWR to be removed from this process, the language was ultimately removed in the final version of the House Budget Reconciliation Bill. Drilling in one of America’s last remaining wildernesses refuges would not put us on a path towards energy independence but will only delay an aggressive pursuit of alternative energy supplies, which are vital not only to a healthy environment but our national security as well.
With the ANWR drilling provision removed from the budget, I voted in favor of the reconciliation bill. I did this to slow the growth of mandatory spending that has grown by 33% since 2001. Considering we are at war, we have had a natural disaster in Hurricane Katrina, and we have an exploding deficit, I feel that we must get control of our spending. The budget passed by a vote of 217-215. Please know that I will continue to oppose drilling in ANWR as the budget goes to a conference committee with the Senate to reconcile differences between House and Senate versions of the budget.
I appreciate hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any other concerns or questions. It is important to note, due to heightened security procedures resulting from Anthrax and Ricin incidents, mail to my U.S. Capitol office is significantly delayed. I encourage you to contact me via my website at http://www.house.gov/reichert/ to expedite your thoughts and I apologize for any inconvenience.
The purchase of hybrid buses is no substitute for the discovery of massive new oil supplies within the control of the United States. The Congressman is free to hold such myths and peddle such excuses, but voters are free to bounce him as well, and they should if he continues to be part of the problem and not the solution on this national security issue.