AN ACTOR, ANWR, AND THE TEAMSTERS

Martin Sheen, the actor who plays US President Josiah Bartlett in the fictitious television series The West Wing, received a nifty dig this week from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

In a series of commercials played in movies theaters, Sheen opposes oil and gas leasing of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain.

According to the Teamsters, Sheen repeats a ridiculous environmental theme by complaining that ANWR contains only "six months of oil."

The union supports ANWR leasing because of the potential boost to jobs.

And it doesn't mince words.

"I couldn't think of a more perfect champion for these pretend facts than a pretend president, said Jerry Hood, the union's special assistant for energy policy.

"The environmental lobby have repeated these half-truths for months, hoping that will make them true."

The House of Representatives has passed energy legislation approving leasing of the coastal plain, in large measure because of support from the Teamsters. The Senate is considering the issue.

This week, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Tex.) said ANWR leasing probably could win a majority of votes in the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, but not the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster (OGJ Online, Nov. 8, 2001).

Hood called on senators to rely on real-life leaders.

"I join President Bush in calling on the Senate to pass a comprehensive national energy policy now," he said. "More than ever, we should listen to the commander-in-chief whose Oval Office is located in Washington, DC, not Hollywood."

That's a nice shot, richly deserved.

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