- The Washington Times - Monday, June 5, 2006

Opponents of oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), which has more than 10 billion barrels of oil, according to the mean estimate of the U.S. Geological Survey, invariably argue that exploration and development would take 10 years before the oil would begin reaching consumers. More than 10 years ago, in October 1995, the revolutionary 104th Congress included a provision authorizing ANWR oil exploration in the budget-reconciliation bill. President Clinton, fulfilling a long-standing promise to veto any legislation containing ANWR exploration, vetoed the bill. Had Mr. Clinton signed ANWR legislation into law in 1995, as much as 1.4 million barrels per day of oil would now be flowing to consumers. U.S. crude-oil production, which has averaged less than 5 million barrels per day over the latest six months, could be nearly 30 percent higher if ANWR output were available.

Last month, the House passed another bill authorizing ANWR oil development. It almost certainly will die in the Senate, where ANWR was filibustered to death last December after it was attached to the defense appropriations bill. Needing 60 votes to invoke cloture and end the filibuster, ANWR proponents effectively fell two votes short; that forced ANWR’s removal from the defense-spending measure. Forty of the Senate’s 44 Democrats voted to sustain the filibuster against ANWR. The four who voted for cloture were Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Two Republican senators, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Mike DeWine of Ohio, also joined in the filibuster against the defense bill containing ANWR.

Earlier last year, the Senate narrowly approved amendments to include ANWR in the budget resolution (51-49 on March 16) and the budget-reconciliation bill (51-48 on Nov. 3). In both cases, only a simple majority was needed because neither measure was subject to a filibuster. The Oct. 27, 1995, vote on the ANWR amendment to the budget-reconciliation bill, which Mr. Clinton later vetoed, also passed by a 51-48 vote. Listed below are the 41 Democrats and seven Republicans who voted against ANWR in March and November of last year. The senators whose names are capitalized also voted against ANWR in 1995.

Democratic opponents of ANWR: MAX BAUCUS (MT); Evan Bayh (IN); JOE BIDEN (DE); JEFF BINGAMAN (NM); BARBARA BOXER (CA); ROBERT BYRD (WV); Maria Cantwell (WA); Thomas Carper (DE); Hillary Clinton (NY); KENT CONRAD (ND); Jon Corzine (NJ); Mark Dayton (MN); CHRIS DODD (CT); BYRON DORGAN (ND); Richard Durbin (IL); RUSS FEINGOLD (WI); DIANNE FEINSTEIN (CA); TOM HARKIN (IA); Tim Johnson (SD); TED KENNEDY (MA); JOHN KERRY (MA); HERB KOHL (WI); FRANK LAUTENBERG (NJ); PATRICK LEAHY (VT); CARL LEVIN (MI); JOE LIEBERMAN (CT); Blanche Lincoln (AR); BARBARA MIKULSKI (MD); PATTY MURRAY (WA); Ben Nelson (NE); Bill Nelson (FL); Barack Obama (IL); Mark Pryor (AR); Jack Reed (RI); HARRY REID (NV); JAY ROCKEFELLER (WV); Ken Salazar (CO); PAUL SARBANES (MD); Chuck Schumer (NY); Debbie Stabenow (MI); and Ron Wyden (OR).

Republican opponents of ANWR: Lincoln Chafee (RI); Norm Coleman (MN); Susan Collins (ME); Mike DeWine (OH); John McCain (AZ); Gordon Smith (OR); and OLYMPIA SNOWE (ME).

It is worth noting that Messrs. McCain and DeWine, who now oppose ANWR, voted for ANWR exploration in 1995. Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (PA) opposed ANWR in 1995 but supported it last year. Also, Sen. JAMES JEFFORDS (VT), a Republican in 1995 and a Democratic-caucusing independent since June 2001, voted against ANWR in 1995 and 2005.

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