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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release March 24, 2000
                      THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE EXXON
                            VALDEZ OIL SPILL

     The anniversary today of the Exxon Valdez spill -- the worst oil

spill in our nation's history -- is a compelling reminder of why we must vigilantly defend American's natural treasures against those who would despoil them for short-term gain.

The Valdez spill caused grievous damage to an extraordinary web of nature and to the communities and livelihoods it sustains. Eleven years later, the healing is well under way. Still, more time must pass before the communities and wildlife of Prince William Sound can fully recover, and some of the damage may never be undone.

To prevent similar disasters, this Administration has taken the boldest steps ever to protect our coasts against the risks of offshore oil drilling, and has fought time and again to prevent drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Remarkably, however, Republicans in Congress have responded to the recent rise in oil prices by again proposing to drill in the Arctic refuge. They would irrevocably destroy one of the last truly wild places in America to enrich their friends in the oil industry and secure less than half a year's supply of oil. President Clinton has used his veto before to protect the Arctic from drilling and, if necessary, is prepared to do so again.

If Congress is truly interested in strengthening America's energy security, it should instead approve the energy-saving measures proposed in our budget: tax credits for energy-efficient cars, homes, and appliances, and increased research and development for clean energy technologies. These are measures that can reduce our reliance our reliance on imported oil, protect the environment, and produce long-term savings for American consumers.