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Bush Admin tries again to sneak through ANWR drilling

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Old 01-08-05, 08:28 AM
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Thumbs down Bush Admin tries again to sneak through ANWR drilling

Battle Looms Again Over Drilling Alaska Wildlife Refuge

With Republicans having added four seats to increase their Senate majority to 55, the battle over drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is high on the agenda once again.

Rather than including ANWR as part of an energy bill, pro-drilling forces are expected to attempt to insert ANWR into a budget resolution.

This is because an energy bill can be filibustered, with 60 votes required to end the filibuster, while a budget resolution requires only a simple majority, and cannot be filibustered. The GOP sought to use this tactic in 2003, but lost by a 52-48 vote.

Criticizing the tactic, Kristin Cummings, senior Alaska Lands Advocate at the National Wildlife Federation, calls the move a backdoor attempt to write legislation, pointing out that the energy bill has no place in a budget resolution. "It's not a revenue raising mechanism," says Cummings. "It needs to be in a forum where it can be openly debated on its merits."

As Athan Manuel, director of U.S. PIRG's Arctic Wilderness Campaign, told BushGreenwatch, "Including the arctic refuge in the budget shows how desperate drilling proponents are to open this wilderness and hide it from the American public."

The Bush Administration touts drilling ANWR as a way to reduce dependence on imported oil. Opponents point out that it will take as long as 10 years before any ANWR oil could reach the market, and even then it would provide at best a six-months' supply. Defenders of Wildlife notes that a mere one-mile-per-gallon increase in fuel efficiency would save half-a-million barrels of oil per day--but drilling advocates show so sign of supporting such a measure. [1]

Three Senate Democrats--Mary Landrieu (LA), Daniel Akada (HI) and Daniel Inouye (HI)--voted in favor of drilling ANWR in the last Senate vote, in 2003. Eight Republicans opposed it. They include Sens. Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL), Susan Collins (R-ME), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), John McCain (R-AZ), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Gordon Smith (R-OR).

Polls by both Democrat and Republican organizations find Americans opposed to drilling ANWR by a two-to-one margin. [2]

Signs of waning corporate support may be sprouting, with the announcement yesterday that ConocoPhillips, the largest oil company in Alaska, is withdrawing from Arctic Power, and is no longer actively advocating drilling in the region. [3] Arctic Power is a lobbying group that focuses solely on opening the coastal plain of the Arctic Natioanl Wildlife Refuge for drilling. BP, also one of the largest operators in Alaska, withdrew from Arctic Power in November 2002.

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TAKE ACTION
Take action through www.SaveArcticRefuge.org.

###

SOURCES:
[1] Defenders of Wildlife website.
[2] Arctic Poll Results, League of Conservation Voters.
[3] U.S. PIRG press release, Jan. 5, 2005.
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Old 01-12-05, 08:23 PM
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thanks for posting this! I think it important that people be aware of the destruction our government is initiating.
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