Democrats are criticizing the trip Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma City, is taking this weekend to Alaska with other GOP freshmen and House Republican leader John Boehner, of Ohio, to view the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is closed to oil and gas exploration, and Prudhoe Bay, where production is ongoing.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said today, “This weekend, House Republican leaders will take their allegiance to the President’s failed policies to a new latitude. They will follow him all the way to the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northern Alaska instead of touring the 68 million acres of land that oil companies have already leased, but have not developed.”
And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said it was “reckless to spend taxpayers’ dollars on a political stunt that benefits the interests of their Big Oil contributors, while doing nothing for middle class Americans struggling to fill their tanks.”
“Who better to be ambassadors for President Bush’s Big Oil agenda than a group of Republicans who have accepted more than a quarter of a million dollars in campaign contributions from Big Oil?” asked
Doug Thornell, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Fallin, whose district includes several oil and gas companies, has accepted nearly $79,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry since 2007, according to opensecrets.org.
The trip, which also included a stop at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado today, is being paid for by the White House. The all-Republican delegation is getting use of a military plane for the weekend.
Last week, Fallin’s press secretary, Alex Weintz, said Fallin “feels it is important to get a firsthand look at American energy facilities and this trip offers her exactly that. Whatever the cost of the trip is, it is dwarfed by the continued cost of inaction when it comes to creating and implementing a real energy policy.”
Fallin supports drilling in ANWR; most Democrats are opposed.