Cool Down This Earth (ecofeminist) wrote in save_anwr,
Cool Down This Earth

Groundhog Day: Arctic refuge drilling back on the table

From McClatchy Newspapers
It didn't work last year, but Senate backers of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development are again trying to pass the drilling measure as part of a budget bill.

"It's a little bit of deja vu all over again," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. So far, the game plan looks identical to last year's. A Republican-drafted Senate resolution calls for opening the refuge. It is headed for a vote, probably Thursday.

The resolution doesn't have the force of law, but it lays the groundwork for an ANWR measure later, in something called a budget reconciliation bill. Under Senate rules, budget bills of this type can't be held up with a filibuster, so they need just 51 votes to pass instead of 60.

Last year, the budget bill with ANWR in it passed the Senate with 52 votes. Then it skidded to a halt in the House, where a group of anti-drilling Republicans sided with all the Democrats to defeat it. It passed only after House leaders took out the ANWR provision.

One difference this year is that the ANWR bill likely won't be paired, as it was last year, with deep cuts to entitlement programs. The cuts were especially unpopular with House Democrats. Without them, the Democrats may not be so solidly united.

But Pete Rafle of The Wilderness Society said last year's budget battle is still fresh in everyone's mind, and that should strengthen opposition to ANWR drilling.

"The fact is that in the context of a budget resolution, this idea of drilling was shown to be not a viable idea," he said.
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