Energy Secretary: I’m Not Going To Talk About Drilling In ANWR But There Are Other Sites

By Nicholas Ballasy | March 16, 2011 | 8:14 AM EDT

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu

( - After testifying before the House Energy and Water Development Subcommittee about his department’s FY2012 budget, asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu if -- given the high price of gasoline -- he supports increasing offshore drilling and opening up ANWR [Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] to domestic drilling?

Chu responded, “I’m not going to talk about ANWR, but I think there’s many areas in the arctic that are potential exploration sites. We have opened up deep shore oil drilling; as I said, there are now two new leases since the Macondo well in deep shore. There have been some 33 or 35 shallow wells, so that has continued.”

“I think continued oil exploration in the United States territorial waters, in the Arctic, everywhere, is part of the strategic plan so that we can maintain production levels. As the President noted, 2010 was the highest production since 2003 of oil in the United States.”

Following his testimony to a House subcommittee on March 4, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters that the Obama administration opposes drilling in ANWR.

“We don’t believe that you need to drill everywhere and we don’t believe that the 'drill, baby, drill' program is the way that’s going to get us to the energy independence that we need for America or that will power our economy,” he told

A Gallup poll released yesterday shows that 49% of Americans support opening ANWR for oil exploration. Gallup also reported that 60% of Americans favor increasing offshore drilling for oil and gas, which is a 10% increase from May 2010.