U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, said tapping into hydrocarbon resources on less than 3 percent of the 20 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska could provide a boost to the U.S. economy.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates there are at least 5.7 billion barrels of technically recoverable crude oil and natural gas liquids within the so-called 1002 Area of ANWR.
Republican lawmakers, following U.S. President Barack Obama's speech Thursday outlining his jobs proposal, said the plan had a few shortcomings, notably in domestic energy production.
"Faced with record deficits, near double-digit unemployment and high gasoline prices, lawmakers should not take any job-creating options off the table," Hastings said in a statement on ANWR drilling.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency says total production from ANWR would represent, at most, around 1 percent of the total world oil consumption.
Hasting's committee considers ANWR proposals during a session Wednesday.