Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/22/2003 04:00 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               SJR 16-END FEDERAL ETHANOL SUBSIDY                                                                           
                                                                                                                              
SENATOR CON BUNDE, sponsor of SJR 16, paraphrased from the                                                                      
sponsor statement:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Fifty-two  U.S.  Senators  recently voted  against  the                                                                    
     opening of  ANWR to oil  drilling, proclaiming  that by                                                                    
     doing so,  they were  saving wilderness  and preserving                                                                    
     wildlife.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
    During   debate   on   Amendment   272,   'To   prevent                                                                     
     consideration of drilling the Arctic National Wildlife                                                                     
     Refuge   in    SCR   23,   the   fast    track   budget                                                                    
     reconciliation,'  many  senators  spoke  on  behalf  of                                                                    
     keeping  the  1002  region  in  a  state  of  'pristine                                                                    
     wilderness.'                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     For example,  Mr. Durbin of Illinois  said, 'The Arctic                                                                    
     Refuge  includes boreal  forests,  dramatic peaks,  and                                                                    
     tundra.  It features  a complete  range  of arctic  and                                                                    
     sub-arctic    ecosystems,    with   an    extraordinary                                                                    
     assemblage  of  wildlife.'  He  declared,  'We  have  a                                                                    
     responsibility in this generation  to leave to the next                                                                    
     generation the natural heritage that we were given.'                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Illinois  produces  766   million  gallons  of  ethanol                                                                    
     produced from  corn, the  most of  all fifty  states. I                                                                    
     hope  that he  understands that  this resolution  would                                                                    
     protect the next generation from ethanol subsidies.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     The  amendment's  sponsor,  Senator  Barbara  Boxer  of                                                                    
     California, explained her position  this way. 'I say to                                                                    
     my  friends from  Alaska, I  hope they  will understand                                                                    
     the people in  this country who support  keeping this 5                                                                    
     percent of the North  Slope in its pristine environment                                                                    
     are doing so  because we think it is good  for the soul                                                                    
     of this country, and we  believe there are more jobs to                                                                    
     be created through other means.'                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     However, I agree with Senator  Lisa Murkowski, who said                                                                    
     during the  debate, 'But  this thought  process implies                                                                    
     that...  Alaskan residents,  my constituents,  the jobs                                                                    
     they will get  are carrying bags for  these people when                                                                    
     they come to visit as a tourist.'                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Many  of  the  senators  who voted  for  Amendment  272                                                                    
     represent the  top 20  ethanol-producing states  in the                                                                    
     nation.   Some  of   the   nation's  most   influential                                                                    
     businesses  profit  greatly  from the  federal  ethanol                                                                    
     subsidy  and do  big  business in  those states.  Those                                                                    
     senators  support   industrial  development   in  their                                                                    
     states,  to the  detriment  of their  own wildlife  and                                                                    
     wild  lands. Yet  many in  those and  other states  who                                                                    
     supported  keeping  ANWR   closed  to  development  are                                                                    
     ardent  environmentalists -  when it  comes to  someone                                                                    
     else's state.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     I  also agree  with  Senator Murkowski  when she  said,                                                                    
     'It  is  demeaning  and  it   is  unfair  to  say  that                                                                    
     Massachusetts  can  keep   its  20,000  petroleum-based                                                                    
     jobs; that  New Jersey  can keep its  27,000 petroleum-                                                                    
     industry  jobs;  and  New  York  can  keep  its  36,000                                                                    
     petroleum-industry jobs, while  Alaska supposedly looks                                                                    
     to  other alternatives.  Why is  it okay  for everybody                                                                    
     else to  do it, and  yet in  Alaska for some  reason we                                                                    
     are not  responsible, we can't  handle it, we  don't do                                                                    
     it  right,  we need  to  lock  it  up and  preserve  it                                                                    
     because it is the last Serengeti?'                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     This resolution  is meant  to send  a message  to those                                                                    
     U.S.  Senators   who  support   the  environmentalists'                                                                    
     viewpoint.  They believe  that  saving  2,000 acres  in                                                                    
     Alaska is  worth more than  Alaskan jobs  and Alaskans'                                                                    
     right to develop our state in the manner we see fit.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRED DYSON made a motion to move SJR 16 from committee                                                                  
with individual recommendations. There being no objection, it                                                                   
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 

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