Preserving Our Natural State Since 1977

Delaware Audubon Statement About Drilling in the Arctic NWR


Photo:  rally in Wilmington against ANWR drilling.  Photo ©2005 Steven Breukelman.With a large oil derricks in the background at Wilmington's Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park, Delaware Audubon joined two other environmental groups June 7, 2005 in opposing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

US PIRG, the Clean Air Council, and Delaware Audubon thanked Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper, as well as Representative Mike Castle, for opposing oil and gas drilling in the coastal plain of ANWR.

Photo:  Nicholas DiPasquale (r) talks to press.
Conservation Chair Nick DiPasquale (right) talks to the press

Nicholas A. DiPasquale made the following comments on behalf of Delaware Audubon:

"Good morning. My name is Nick DiPasquale, conservation chair for Delaware Audubon. Thank you for being here. Thanks to the US Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) for organizing today's event and for the participation of the Clean Air Council, the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club and the other environmental organizations represented here. This is an issue that is both important and timely; and it involves critical questions for citizens of the United States and countries around the world who look to us for leadership and innovation.

"I also want to thank Delaware's Congressional delegation, Senators Biden and Carper and Congressman Castle, as well as the late Senator Bill Roth, for their consistent opposition to opening ANWR for oil and gas drilling. They recognize what a huge mistake that would be.

"Today we are here to talk about the failed US Energy Policy and the critically flawed Energy Act currently pending in Congress. A bill that:

  • Gives billions of dollars in tax credits and financial incentives for the continued development of polluting energy sources.
  • Overrides state authority on the siting of LNG Import Facilities like the BP's proposed Crown Landing facility.
  • Speeds up permitting of oil refineries, especially in economically challenged minority communities.
  • Fails to adequately support a deliberate and thoughtful transition to alternative and renewable energy sources and energy conservation.
  • Perpetuates a system that places the US in the position of having to use military intervention to ensure continued access to dwindling oil reserves.

"US Energy Policy in general--and drilling in ANWR in particular--set a dangerous precedent of opening ecologically unique and fragile public lands to energy exploitation that will further accelerate habitat destruction and fragmentation, the leading cause of species extinction.

"There are over 180 different species of birds and 250 wildlife species that inhabit the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. ANWR has been referred to as "America's Serengeti." The Coastal Plain, where the drilling is targeted to take place, is considered the biological heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. ANWR is home to birds from every state in the nation and six continents.

"Disturbances from machinery, equipment and helicopters, along with the loss and fragmentation of fragile habitat, put birds and other wildlife species at risk.

"We know accidents happen. We witnessed that just last fall when the Greek tanker Athos I struck a discarded anchor and spilled 265,000 gallons of oil into the Delaware River. The cleanup cost so far is $167 million and the cost of damage to birds and aquatic life are incalculable. The effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound can still be seen - more than a decade and a half later.

"A recent CBS/NY Times poll found that a clear majority of Americans (55%) are opposed to drilling in ANWR. Only 39% of Americans support it.

"With only five percent of the world's population, the US is responsible for 26 percent of the world's oil consumption. We are energy gluttons.

"Fully two-thirds of America's demand for oil is generated by transportation (passenger cars, SUV's, heavy-duty trucks, jets, etc.).

"The amount of oil available in ANWR is equivalent to only a six-month supply based on current U.S. consumption rates, and this oil won't be available for at least 10 years.

"Keep this thought in mind - The same amount of oil or more can be saved over 10 years by simply increasing the fuel efficiency requirements of SUV's to 27.5 miles per gallon, the same as passenger cars, or by raising the standard for passenger cars and light-duty vehicles by 1 mile per gallon, without the attendant ecological destruction.