From: ENN
Published August 17, 2005 12:00 AM

Three Republican New Jersey Lawmakers Join Call to Protect the Arctic Refuge

WASHINGTON, DC — New Jersey became a central battleground in the effort to block oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge last week when three members of the New Jersey GOP delegation signed a letter to their leadership urging that language authorizing drilling be kept out of the budget reconciliation bill to be considered this fall.

The three NJ members signing the letter by Rep. Jeb Bradley (R-NH) were Reps. Smith, Saxton, and Ferguson. Reps. LoBiondo and Frelinghuysen, who have voted to protect the Refuge in the past, did not sign the letter. Collectively, NJ's GOP delegation holds five swing votes on Arctic drilling (Rep. Scott Garrett has never voted to protect the Refuge), more than any other state. With the vote on the budget reconciliation bill likely to be close, this means the NJ GOP delegation could play a crucial role in deciding the fate of the Arctic Refuge.

"So many of New Jersey's Republican representatives have stood strong against efforts to drill in the Arctic Refuge in the past, but now, with the most crucial vote just around the corner, it is time for them to step up again," said Jamie Rappaport Clark, Executive Vice President for Defenders of Wildlife.

"The GOP leadership is intent on burying language that opens the Arctic Refuge in this year's final budget where it is insulated from debate. An attempt last spring to drop Arctic refuge drilling from the budget failed by just four votes. New Jersey, with its five GOP swing votes, is a bellwether state in the fight to block this underhanded effort," said Clark.

"We commend Reps. Smith, Saxton, and Ferguson for continuing to stand strong for the Arctic Refuge," added Clark. "We need all five of these New Jersey representatives to stand equally strong by rejecting the budget reconciliation bill this fall if we are to protect this pristine wilderness from oil drilling."

Defenders of Wildlife is a nonprofit conservation organization advocating for wildlife and its habitat. The organization claims more than 490,000 members and supporters.Source: PRNewswire, Defenders of Wildlife

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