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[GreenYes] Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Today's Wall Street Journal has an article ("Oil Drilling in Alaska Looms in Legislative Test for Bush," 1/12/01) concerning the prospects for legislative battle over the fate of the ANWR.

    "Abouat an 8% share of the South Carolina szied refuge, along the northern edge of the state on the Beaufort Sea, would be subject to drilling under Mr. Bush's plan. The Energy Department's latest estimate is that it could produce 10.3 billion barrels of oil, which would make it the last major reservoir of untouched oil in the U.S."

    As to timing, however, the article notices that "Rober Herrera, a political strategist for Arctic Power, the lobby formed by Alaska business interests to push the issue,... the pro-dirlling forces have been careful to proceed only when the political environment looked good for their cause. 'My side can't ever afford to lose a vote on this issue,' he says, becasue the question could be perceived as politically dead.'"
    Of especial concern, the article notes that the gambit of attaching legislation directing the Interior Department to raise money from leasing the area to oil companies could be made fillibuster proof by attaching it to a budget reconiliation measure. 

    My guess is the question of whether the Refuge will become the defining moment of the Bush Administration's posture with regard to environmental issues will rest on gasoline prices.  It certainly appears that the side favoring exploration will be waiting to act when/if the iron is hot.

Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
(608) 231-1100/Fax (608) 233-0011

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