A spokesman for Markey, who is the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee — which has jurisdiction over both public lands and energy development on them — told FoxNews.com that drilling in the refuge is not just an Alaskan issue.
“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is public land, part of our national natural heritage that all Americans share – belonging as much to the people of Massachusetts as it does to the people of Texas or California or Alaska,” Markey spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder said in an e-mail.
The intraparty spat comes as motorists are besieged by rising oil prices. Oil prices rose 22 percent from Labor Day through the end of the year. The national average price for gas is about $3.08 per gallon, the highest since January 2008 when the price was around $3.11 a gallon. Oil prices fell below $88 Friday, but analysts expect price of a barrel to surpass $100 this year. And gas prices generally rise between the start of the year and Memorial Day.
Begich says Congress specifically set aside 1.5 million acres along the coastal plain for oil and gas exploration. He says the area has enormous potential and should be part of the nation’s energy plan.
“I agree that we need to do more to develop alternative energy forms as part of our national plan, but to put ANWR off limits is shortsighted,” he said. “ANWR will not be locked up