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(05/06/07) -

Don’t Drill for Oil in Alaska, Say Americans

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – A majority of adults in the United States think the federal government should refrain from drilling for oil and natural gas in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, according to a poll by CBS News and the New York Times. 57 per cent of respondents disapprove of any changes to existing legislation.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – A majority of adults in the United States think the federal government should refrain from drilling for oil and natural gas in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, according to a poll by CBS News and the New York Times. 57 per cent of respondents disapprove of any changes to existing legislation.

In 2004, U.S. president George W. Bush proposed opening less than 10 per cent of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration. According to the White House, the area could potentially provide more than one million barrels of oil each day. 62 per cent of respondents think developing new sources of energy should be a government priority, while 21 per cent choose to protect the environment.

In his Jan. 31, 2006 State of the Union address, U.S. president George W. Bush declared, “Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources—and we are on the threshold of incredible advances.”

On Apr. 30, the U.S. Interior Department announced a major expansion of offshore oil and gas development in and around Alaska, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and Virginia. The five-year plan calls for a lease sale in Bristol Bay off Alaska, a 5.6 million acre area that had been off limits to energy development by presidential directive until earlier this year. The U.S. Congress is expected to review the final drilling plan by the end of June.

Polling Data

Currently, drilling for oil and natural gas is prohibited in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Do you approve or disapprove of the proposal to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for oil and natural gas drilling?

Approve

39%

Disapprove

57%

Unsure

4%

Right now, which do you think should be a higher priority for the government: protecting the environment, or developing new sources of energy?

Environment

21%

Energy

62%

Both

14%

Unsure

3%

Source: CBS News / New York Times
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,052 American adults, conducted from Apr. 20 to Apr. 24, 2007. Margin of error is 3 per cent.