3/16/2005

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Open for Drilling

The bastards actually did it.
From the AP:
The Senate, by a 51-49 vote, rejected an attempt by Democrats and GOP moderates to remove a refuge drilling provision from next year's budget, preventing opponents from using a filibuster - a tactic that has blocked repeated past attempts to open the Alaska refuge to oil companies. The action, assuming Congress agrees on a budget, clears the way for approving drilling in the refuge later this year, drilling supporters said. The oil industry has sought for more than two decades to get access to what is believed to be billions of barrels of oil beneath the 1.5 million-acre coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the northern eastern corner of Alaska. Environmentalists have fought such development and argued that despite improve environmental controls a web of pipelines and drilling platforms would harm calving caribou, polar bears and millions of migratory birds that use the coastal plain. "We won't see this oil for 10 years. It will have minimal impact," argued Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., a co-sponsor of the amendment that would have stripped the arctic refuge provision from the budget document. It is "foolish to say oil development and a wildlife refuge can coexist," she said. The 19-million-acre refuge was set aside for protection by President Eisenhower in 1960, but Congress in 1980 said its 1.5 million acre coastal plain could be opened to oil development if Congress specifically authorizes it.

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