GOP Frosh to Visit ANWR

Posted July 10, 2008 at 3:46pm

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) will lead a group of 10 freshman Republicans to Alaska next week to visit the infamous Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.

The group is seeking sites for potential energy production and will tour the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., on July 18, followed by a visit to ANWR on July 20.

Boehner said the two stops reflect the “all of the above” approach that House Republicans have promoted to combat rising gas prices — that is, an approach focused on increasing domestic drilling, encouraging conservation and promoting the use of alternative fuels.

Members going on the trip include Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Gus Bilirakis (Fla.), Mary Fallin (Okla.), Dean Heller (Nev.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Doug Lamborn (Colo.), Bob Latta (Ohio), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Steve Scalise (La.) and Adrian Smith (Neb.).

A number of freshman Republicans approached Boehner about making the trip, which is why the delegation is made up entirely of freshman Members, according to Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

Taking a jab at Democrats for opposing new domestic drilling, Boehner said the group is heading to ANWR to “learn about the abundance of American energy held hostage below the tundra by the Democrats in charge of Congress.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said GOP leaders “have a point of view,” but that she hopes Boehner stops in other parts of Alaska where millions of acres are already available for leasing that are not environmentally sensitive.

In a letter on Thursday to Boehner, Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) called on the Minority Leader to visit the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and provided him with a map of the region.

While it would take at least 10 years to bring oil online from drilling in ANWR, NRPA is home to more than 20 million acres that are ready to be drilled, the letter states.

“The NPRA has been set aside by Congress specifically for drilling, and I urge you to take the time to visit this region of Alaska during your upcoming trip,” Emanuel said.