Arctic Power taps Qorvis for PA work

WASHINGTON: Arctic Power, a broad-based coalition of Alaskan businesses and interest groups, has handed its public affairs business to Qorvis Communications.

WASHINGTON: Arctic Power, a broad-based coalition of Alaskan businesses and interest groups, has handed its public affairs business to Qorvis Communications.

WASHINGTON: Arctic Power, a broad-based coalition of Alaskan businesses and interest groups, has handed its public affairs business to Qorvis Communications.

Arctic Power, formed in 1996, hopes to promote one of the more contentious legislative issues of the new administration: drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Qorvis' public affairs work is likely to include garnering support for an energy bill being submitted to the Senate today by Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Ak). Based on a bill he presented last year, the current one is expected to include provisions for drilling for oil in the refuge.

Arctic power passed up several larger Washington public affairs agencies for the business, which is said to be in the mid-seven-figure range. As many as 10 agencies are believed to have pitched for the account. While none would confirm participation, Weber Shandwick Worldwide and Dittus Communications were reportedly among them.

Arctic Power members include the Alaska Trucking Association, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, the Alaska Forest Association and the Alaska Oil & Gas Association, which counts Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell Western among its ranks.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Arctic Power paid more than dollars 138,000 to lobbyists in 1999, the most recent year for which data is available. That number represents a dramatic 155% increase from the previous year's expenditures of dollars 54,000.

President Bush made a proposal to open the largely barren ANWR to oil drilling a centerpiece of his campaign. The idea's supporters claim there is enough oil beneath the surface to warrant the minor environmental disturbances.

However, opponents say there is little oil to be had and the environmental damage would be devastating.

Working against Arctic Power are several environmental groups, including the Alaska Wilderness League, a coalition counting the Sierra Club and The Autobahn Society among its members.



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