Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is confident $1 billion can be raised over 10 years and help offset the costs of tax cuts by permitting oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Washington Examiner reported.
"The first 10 years are just the start of a 40-year period where responsible production raises billions of dollars in revenues for our country every year," Murkowski said at the opening of a hearing to discuss the issue. "We will see the benefits over decades, not just over the 10-year budget window."
A budget resolution passed by both the House and Senate instructs lawmakers to create legislation to raise the money by opening a section of the refuge called "1002" to drilling, the Examiner noted.
"We are not asking to develop all of the 1002 area," said Murkowski, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "We are asking for 2,000 acres, about one ten-thousandth of ANWR. We have waited nearly 40 years for the right technology to come along for a footprint small enough for environment to be respected. This is not a choice between energy and the environment. We are past that."
Democrats have blocked an attempt to permit drilling in the past, claiming it would harm native species including caribou and polar bears.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said: "I find it hard to believe there will be an economic incentive to drill in the refuge. There is no new science that says we don’t have to worry about this wildlife, no new science to say oil will take up a smaller footprint. I am disturbed."
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