Why is this such a big deal to Republicans? I really just don't get it. Opening up ANWAR won't drop the cost of a gallon of gas. It will only supply 1-1.5% of our national consumption. The only people it will benefit are the oil companies. It is not like it is going to create thousands of desirable jobs - who wants to work there? Why is this such a big freak'n deal to them? Why doesn't Congress spend their time on trying to reduce our oil dependence instead? That is the real issue.
Yes, maybe someday, we will have to open it up for what ever reason, but lets wait until then. It is always good to have something in reserve.
Senate GOP Ready to Push Artic Oil Measure
By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - The first big environmental showdown of the new Congress is expected to come within weeks as the Senate plans to use a budget measure to try to open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil development, hoping to sidestep strong Democratic opposition.
Republican leaders have been stymied for years in their effort to allow oil development on a 1.5 million-acre coastal strip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge because they have been unable to muster the 60 votes needed to overcome a Democratic-led filibuster.
But a maneuver to avoid the filibuster is likely to come to a head in the next three weeks. The House has repeatedly passed measures to allow drilling in ANWR, as the refuge is called, only to see the legislation stalled in the Senate.
Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H. said Tuesday it was reasonable to assume ANWR would be part of the budget measure. "The president asked for it, and we're trying to do what the president asked for," Gregg said after meeting privately with Republicans on his panel.
Sen. Pete Domenici (news, bio, voting record), R-N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and a strong supporter of refuge oil development, said he was "very optimistic we're going to get the ANWR provision in this budget."
Gregg's panel was expected to begin work on the budget language next week. Senate floor action — including a vote on the ANWR provision — was likely before the congressional Easter recess March 19.
Given the wider majority of 55 Republicans against 44 Democrats and one Independent, Republicans leaders believe they have the best chance yet to gather the 51 votes needed to include ANWR in the budget language, which is not subject to filibuster.
That would be a stinging defeat for environmentalists who consider protecting the refuge as their most important challenge in Congress. Environmentalists have stepped up their lobbying, hoping to convince lawmakers that drilling in the refuge would harm the area's breeding grounds for caribou, as well as polar bears, musk oxen and millions of migratory birds that camp on the refuge's tundra.