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Gilmore Wants Drilling in Alaska

Tim Craig

As gasoline prices soared to record levels today, Republican U.S. Senate candidate James S. Gilmore (R) embraced drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

"If not now, when?" Gilmore asked in a statement. "We must make America energy independent and obtaining energy production from the vast reserves in [the refuge] is a solid first step in that direction."

Gilmore, who is fighting Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) for the GOP nomination, has also endorsed proposals to increase use of nuclear power and build more domestic oil refineries. The likely Democratic nominee for Senate, former governor Mark R. Warner, has made changes in the nation's energy policy one of his top campaign issues.

Gilmore questioned Warner's commitment to the issue.

"Where does Mark Warner stand on finding ways to immediately address our country's need to increase domestic oil production?" Gilmore asked. "If Mark Warner is serious about making the U.S. more energy dependent, he needs to step up and support increased domestic oil production through the development of the [refuge]."

Environmentalists fiercely oppose drilling in the refuge, saying it is a fragile ecosystem that could be severely affected by even the slightest disturbance or oil leak.

Kevin Hall, a Warner spokesman, said Warner wants more investment in environmentally-friendly green technologies, such as solar and wind power and alternative fuels.
"Remarkably, Mr. Gilmore's energy plan recycles the same failed policies of the past," Hall said. "Drilling for oil in ANWR makes little sense when our focus instead should be on harnessing the potential of renewable energy sources."

By Tim Craig  |  March 10, 2008; 1:08 PM ET
Categories:  James Gilmore III , Tim Craig  
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