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Fresh off the plane from a fact-finding trip to Alaska, House GOP Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) declared Tuesday that there is “absolutely no difference” between the terrain and wildlife in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, except that people would leave a smaller environmental footprint by drilling in ANWR.

Along with a band of 10 freshman Republicans, Boehner spent several days in Alaska and Colorado as part of an effort to bolster their party’s “all of the above” strategy to increase American energy production as a means to lowering gas prices.

Republicans plan to introduce their own energy proposal on Wednesday after a Democratic proposal to force oil companies to drill on their existing land failed under suspension of the rules last week.

Boehner said Republicans flew over the entire Alaskan coastal plain, which is home to ANWR and NPRA, and found that most wildlife was in the NPRA area, “where Democrats are all in favor of drilling.”

The two areas have “all the same terrain,” said the GOP leader.

But while Democrats have called for more drilling in NPRA, it makes more sense to drill in ANWR because of the way oil deposits are distributed, Boehner contended.

“Deposits in NPRA are spread in a lot of different areas,” Boehner said. “You can go into ANWR and drill on a much more concentrated place with a much smaller footprint than we’ll ever be able to accomplish in the NPRA.”

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