WASHINGTON, D.C. –Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski yesterday urged her colleagues to support Arctic Alaskan oil development in an effort to help drive down the price of fuel for Americans. The Congressional Research Service recently released new estimates for the total federal revenues from ANWR’s opening to $191.1 billion, or potentially $296.9 billion should the U.S. Geological Survey’s high estimate of 16 billion barrels of oil be discovered.

“There is a lot of hand wringing in Washington about what to do about record high oil prices that are strangling our economy. America should produce our own oil to send a signal that we are willing to increase our own supplies and drive down prices,” said Senator Murkowski. “Signaling that we are finally serious about helping ourselves, that we will produce oil from ANWR, will help to drive down the psychology and speculation that is currently acting to drive up world oil prices. Admittedly, opening ANWR tomorrow will not produce more oil tomorrow, but it will dampen the speculation that is helping to fuel higher prices. It is absolutely the right thing to do today, and is vital if prices rise higher.”

Senators Murkowski Stevens in mid March had introduced legislation that would open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development should the price of oil exceed $125 a barrel. The legislation that would automatically open the coastal plain should prices rise much higher allocates all the revenues, both initial lease, royalty and bonus money, plus all taxes from actual oil production to fund renewable energy development, weatherization programs to reduce fuel use, and to the Women’s, Infant’s and Children’s nutrition program.

“Americans are hurting each time they fill up their cars at the pump,” said Senator Murkowski. “Americans are having an equally hard time affording their winter heating bills. It only makes sense that the revenues from finding and producing U.S. oil go to help people who are having trouble making ends meet given the high fuel prices we are facing.”