The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Bill (H.R. 567), currently before the U.S. House of Representatives, would preserve the natural ecosystems in the Arctic coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska as wilderness.  This would prevent oil companies from drilling in the pristine Arctic Refuge.  Although oil companies claim that drilling in the Refuge is necessary given current oil shortages and high prices, there is only a 6 month supply of recoverable oil in the Arctic Refuge, which does not even amount to 2% of the U.S. demand.  Moreover, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that oil would not become available to consumers for at least a decade.  Drilling in the Arctic Refuge, however, would disrupt and endanger caribou, polar bears, musk oxen, grizzly bears, wolves, snow geese, and millions of migratory birds. 

Please contact your federal representative and urge him/her to co-sponsor and support this necessary legislation.  Currently, Florida Representatives Corrine Brown, Jim Davis, Alcee Hastings, Debbie Schultz Wasserman and Robert Wexler are co-sponsors of this bill.  Note that Katherine Harris, who is challenging Senator Bill Nelson for his seat in the U.S. Senate, is not a co-sponsor of this legislation. 

The U.S. House has included a provision in the Budget Reconciliation Bill which would allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Fortunately, the version of the bill passed by the Senate removed any language allowing drilling in the Refuge.  Unfortunately, the version passed by the House authorizes the sale of federal land to mining companies.  Please contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to vote against any bill allowing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or the sale of federal land. 

Although the U.S. House of Representatives added a provision in the Defense Appropriations Bill allowing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Senate blocked the provision on December 22, 2005.  Florida Senator Bill Nelson voted against allowing the drilling while Mel Martinez voted in favor of the drilling. 
The good news is that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is safe for now.