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Names of those opposing oil plan 'interesting'

The White House says it certainly is “interesting” to see the names of U.S. senators who opposed a plan to allow oil exploration and production in a tiny fragment of the massive Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including the names of “certain” senators from Illinois and New York.

The comment came in response to a question from Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House. He asked:

“Senate Minority Leader [Mitch] McConnell, [R-Ky.] and 28 other Republican senators introduced the Domestic Energy Production Act to allow oil production in only eight percent of the entire ANWR area. And my question: Does the White House believe that the nation needs to know that among those senators who voted to defeat this bill, which could have cut the now huge cost of gasoline, were certain United States senators from Illinois and New York?”

“No; it’s very interesting, though. Thanks for pointing it out,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said today.

“The president realizes this, doesn’t he?” continued Kinsolving.

“I don’t know if he did a whip count,” Perino said.

With gasoline costs for consumers skyrocketing in recent months to a level of around $4 a gallon now, McConnell’s plan, the American Energy Production Act, S.2958, was added this week to the Flood Insurance Bill “as a solution to combat increases in oil prices and their effects on energy and commercial products,” according to a report on the ANWR website. Opposing it were Democrat presidential candidates Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

McConnell said a previous highly touted “common-sense” plan from Democrats to lower gasoline prices had failed.

McConnell, instead of releasing oil from reserves, is calling for the opening of the outer continental shelf as well as the 10-02 Area of ANWR in Alaska, both of which are known to hold vast amounts of oil and gas reserves that right now are locked up by Congressional bans on exploration and production.

The ANWR report said, “decreasing supply when demand is going through the roof, McConnell argues, is a sure way to raise the price not lower it.”

Theh report continued that McConnell noted that had then-President Clinton not vetoed successful ANWR legislation in 1995 the U.S. would be getting more than a million barrels of oil a day from the 10-02 area alone.

Also recommending action regarding the ANWR oil reserves are Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Reps. Mike Ross, D-Ark., and Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

The ANWR report said oil from that location “is predicted to increase American production by over one million barrels per day which at $100-plus per barrel prices is a tremendous savings to our national debt and boost to our economy.”

The report continued, “This will be compounded by the hundreds of thousands of jobs that will be created nationwide from production in the 10-02 and also the up to $280 billion in tax royalties the federal government would gain from production.”

In another question, Kinsolving asked about the status of U.S. currency.

“After six years of legal effort, the American Council for the Blind has finally won a decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that since all paper money, from $1s to $100s, are the same size, this discriminates against the blind. And my question: Since a federal judge noted that more than 100 other countries vary the size of their bills, does the White House believe we should as well?”

“That is something that the Treasury Department has been handling. They are named in the lawsuit, and they are taking it very seriously. And they’ll be talking with the Justice Department, I’m sure, to determine their next steps, because I don’t think – the litigation is not completed yet,” said Perino.

That ruling affirmed a 2006 decision from a lower court, and observers speculate it could be the trigger to a redesign of U.S. currency.

The government had argued that even though the bills all are the same size, there are alternatives, such as using credit cards for using store clerks for help.

But the court opinion said the government failed to explain why changing the money would be an undue burden, noting the currency already has undergone changes in recent years, and adding raised marks or something to accommodate the blind would cost little.


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