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On the Market for a National Park? October 10, 2005 11:51 AM

This is getting ridiculous.

Some folks in Washington are telling Americans that, in order to balance the budget, we must choose between selling our national parks or leasing the Arctic Refuge to Exxon.

"House Resources chairman Richard Pombo is circulating a draft of a bill that would sell 15 national parks and require the National Park Service to raise millions of dollars by selling the naming rights to visitors' centers and trails.

Pombo's spokesman said the proposal, written by Pombo's House Resources Committee staff, is intended only to influence lawmakers to support an item in the budget bill that would permit oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." (1)

Unbelievable, right?

Well, thanks to aggressive corporate lobbying, the false choice between selling our national parks and spoiling the Arctic Refuge is what passes for energy policy in some Washington circles these days.

Instead of fighting for hard-working Americans who need relief at the pump, Mr. Pombo and his allies are fighting to help Exxon get its hands on public resources -- pristine lands that you and I own -- so the mammoth corporation can boost its massive profits by a few million more.

That's not a national energy policy. That's a joke.

And oil and gas was the #1 industry contributor to Pombo's 2004 campaign, to the tune of $85,693.(2)

So why aren't our leaders fighting for real energy solutions, like improved gas mileage, that will actually lower gas expenses for our families, while protecting our air, land, water and wildlife?

Ask them yourself. Call your senators and representatives:

We've got to be persistent -- there's a lot of muscle behind Mr. Pombo. Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, for example:

"I know that Chairman Pombo is committed to ensuring any final bill that reaches the floor has an ANWR provision ... I wholeheartedly supported his efforts in the past and will do so again this year."(3)

In his career, DeLay has received more money from the oil and gas industry than any other industry, totaling $589,900. (4)

Does America deserve an energy policy bought and paid for by the big oil companies? Tell your leaders in Washington "no."

They might have the money to wage this battle -- but on our side, we have the truth.

Start by calling Congress, but there's something else you can do. Anytime you see a story in your local paper that has anything to do with gas prices or energy policy, write a letter to the editor saying that drilling in the Arctic Refuge is not the answer. It takes a minute, I know. But senators and representatives read their hometown papers.

Most importantly, you'll help get the truth out there.

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 October 10, 2005 11:51 AM

Truth is the most powerful force on the planet, and together we'll use it to fight their distortions and false choices--and win.


Adam Kolton
National Wildlife Federation



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