- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Arctic drilling recast as budget measure
Question of the Day
The Senate’s energy chief last week revamped an old strategy to almost guarantee passage of legislation that would open up parts of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration.
Sen. Pete V. Domenici, as chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, plans to incorporate ANWR tax incentives and the $3.2 billion in projected revenues from oil development into this year’s unwritten budget resolution.
The New Mexico Republican said he will introduce the ANWR language as a budget reconciliation, which would not be subject to a filibuster and would pass with a simple majority.
The ANWR issue has held up passage of the energy package because of ardent opposition by Senate Democrats and some Republicans.
“There are some who oppose ANWR who feel that in order for it to happen it must have 60 votes” to avoid a filibuster, Mr. Domenici said. “This way, under the reconciliation ” and I have done this before ” the supporters and opposers have an equal chance.”
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Pat Roberts of Kansas and John Thune of South Dakota left to tour ANWR and oil-drilling sites in Alaska on Friday.
Mrs. Murkowski said new “diagonal drilling” technology that allows a single pumping station to extract oil from multiple wells at once should convince environmentalists that wildlife will not be disturbed if ANWR exploration and the subsequent drilling is allowed.
“I make the claim that what we do in Alaska in terms of oil and gas drilling is in balance with the environment and as nondisruptive as possible,” Mrs. Murkowski said. “We have figured out how to do it right.”
With oil prices soaring to $55 a barrel, Congress is focused on relieving the country’s dependence on foreign oil and natural gas.
Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton said Section 1002, the area of ANWR set aside by President Carter for oil exploration, could contain 5.7 million to 16 million barrels of oil or more. And she said it could hold even larger dividends of natural gas stores.
“[Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] could provide every drop of gas and other oil-based products for the state of New Mexico for 200 years,” she said.
Mr. Domenici agreed, saying the new technology should address environmentalists’ concerns.
“If I find that what we have been told isn’t right, then I could change my mind, but if it is, we can’t afford to wait any longer,” he said.
The reconciliation plan could lead to an inevitable passage of ANWR exploration.
Established in 1974, budget reconciliation was created to expedite the consideration of mandatory spending programs — such as Social Security and Medicare — tax laws or projected revenues.
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- DeSean Jackson working on offensive cohesiveness with Redskins teammates
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq