STATEMENT OF SENATOR JOHN KERRY
Regarding: Tom DeLay's comments on ANWR as a "precedent"
Thursday, September 25, 2003
WASHINGTON, DC - Roll Call newspaper reported today that, on Tuesday, during a closed-door session of the House GOP leadership, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) said that the battle in Congress to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil exploration is a fight over whether energy exploration will be allowed in similarly sensitive areas in the future. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) issued the following statement in response:
"When the Bush Administration needs a partisan attack dog, they roll out Tom DeLay to do their dirty work. So it should come as no surprise that in their headlong rush to attack one of America's pristine national treasures, they would trot out Tom DeLay to preview their assault on the environment.
"Congressman DeLay has shown himself to be little more than a bully, but I will not let him bully the United States Senate into allowing the oil industry supporters of this Administration to establish a toehold for drilling in ANWR. Their goals are clear, but so is mine: I led the last fight to stop them from drilling in ANWR and I will do so the next time and every time after that. Because, as Tom DeLay so aptly pointed out, their agenda is not to establish a footprint in ANWR; it is to trample on America's environmentally sensitive areas in an effort to keep America dependent on the oil produced by their campaign contributors.
"We cannot continue to rely on the energy policies of the past. It is only by developing technologies that advance our energy, environmental, and economic needs that we will truly free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil."
ROLL CALL DeLay: ANWR a 'Precedent' By John Bresnahan, Roll Call Staff September 25, 2003 [Excerpt]
On Tuesday, during a closed-door session of the House GOP leadership, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) said that the battle in Congress to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration is a fight over whether energy exploration will be allowed in similarly sensitive areas in the future, a statement that surprised even Republicans in the room.
According to several GOP sources, DeLay insisted that backing down on ANWR would be a mistake for those who support the measure, popular with the oil industry, although DeLay also acknowledged that the provision was likely to fare poorly in the Senate because of opposition from Democrats and GOP moderates.
"It's about the precedent," DeLay told the assembled Republican leaders while making several references to the "symbolism of ANWR," according to GOP sources.