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[GreenYes] Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
According to yesterday's Wall Street Journal ("GOP in House is Backing Off On Alaska Plan") and NY Times ("Republicans' Budget Plans Ignore Arctic Oil Drilling"), plans to permit drilling in the arctic refuge suffered a major setback in legislative maneuvering.

With the Senate split 50-50, 60 votes needed to overcome a fillibuster, and strong democratic and moderate republican opposition to drilling, the only way to enact legislation overturning the present ban on drilling in the refuge is if the republican leadership feels it can get away with including it in bills sent to the floor as part of must-pass appropriations legislation that a majority in opposition is penned in from voting down. Permitting drilling, which by itself has nothing to do with appropriations, was planned to be folded into the budget on the guise of inclusion of projected lease revenues from oil exploration in the refuge.

Yesterday, the House leadership budget draft omitted any reference to ANWR, and Sen. Dominci who chiars the Senate budget committee indicated he will do the same in light of strong opposition from republican Sen. Snowe of Maine.

There will be more must-pass emergency appropriations bills in the future that republican Sen. Ted Stevens from Alaska who chairs the Appropriations Committee can be expected to attempt to include drilling provisions in the future. But, at least one major hurdle is passed. The worry is that, by chance, the next occasion for an emergency appropriations bill will coincide with some oil blip in prices that drill proponents will exploit.

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

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