July 21, 2008

Republican Inspecting Energy Sites

By Steve Tetreault



WASHINGTON - Rep. Dean Heller will spend the weekend touring energy sites in Colorado and Alaska as part of a Republican effort to highlight the party's energy strategy.

The Nevadan and nine other House Republican freshmen are scheduled to tour the Prudhoe Bay oil field in Alaska and the "10- 02" area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that for years has been the center of oil drilling debates.

The first part of the trip will be to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Colorado lab where the Department of Energy conducts research on alternative fuels and energy efficient technologies.

House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, who organized the trip, said it was intended to call attention to Republicans' strategy to increase U.S. energy production coupled with conservation and development of renewable energy resources.

It will be Heller's first trip to the ANWR coastal plain.

Critics say drilling is not worth the risk of disrupting the area's rich ecological diversity and caribou herds that sustain natives.

Heller said he supports ANWR drilling and wants to learn more about how it could be conducted.

"The key for me is ANWR. It is about four times the size of Clark County, and they are trying to drill in something the size of McCarran" airport.

"I want to see the facts," he said.

"I support more resources, more drilling offshore or in ANWR. Those are critical steps but not the only ones."

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at [email protected] stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760.

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