Jeb: No Plans For ANWR

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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DERRY, N.H. — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush danced around his position on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska that his brother President George W. Bush called to open up for oil drilling in 2005.

“ANWR, I don’t think there’s any plans for ANWR. But as it relates to offshore drilling, where states want to do it they ought to have [the right to]. We ought to open up the leases, which the Obama administration actually is doing to a certain extent,” the younger Bush told The Daily Caller following remarks at New Hampshire town hall meeting.

President Obama moved forward in the beginning of the year to add 12.28 million acres more as designated managed wilderness at ANWR.

The former Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate also told TheDC he has more confidence in offshore drilling with present technology than in the past.

“I think the science and technology available for drilling has gotten so much better that we ought to consider drilling so that we can reach Energy security as quick as possible.”

As governor of Florida, Bush opposed an attempt by his brother’s administration to free up the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling.

“Governor Bush supports expanding domestic energy production,” Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said in a statement to POLITICO back in March. “As governor he worked to strike a balance between our nation’s energy needs and the economic and environmental interests of Florida.

He believes states should have a role in decisions that impact their coastline. Expanding domestic energy production is key to ensuring America’s energy security.”

Additionally, although Bush was anti-drilling in his own backyard he was supportive of other states to drill off their coasts. Most Florida politicians were usually anti-drilling off the coast of their state for a number of years.

Politico points out the stance was almost mandatory in order to get elected. However, in recent years, likely as a result of new drilling technology, more Sunshine State politicians like Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott are comfortable with drilling off the coast of Florida as long as appropriate precautions and safety measures are taken.