188. ANWR DRILLING TO BE QUIETLY PASSED IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS
We've been following the ANWR story regularly here at POD. We've seen how Matt Simmons has been lobbying to drill ANWR for years. Last month, we reported that the House killed a Republican attempt to drill ANWR by attaching the drilling provisions to the budget reconciliation bill.
Well, the ants are back in the sugar bowl again. ANWR is the American equivalent of the last tree on Easter Island, and the chiefs can't seem to leave it alone. Gotta keep pumping out those Moai, doncha know.
Senator Ted Stevens wants to play the sympathy card and drill ANWR to help Katrina victims:
Sen. Ted Stevens said Wednesday he hopes to win votes for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by putting it in the same bill as Hurricane Katrina relief money.Stevens is practically drooling with anticipation:
"It's going to be awfully hard to vote against Katrina," the Alaska Republican said.
ANWR oil leasing would raise federal revenue, and Stevens said he wants the House to agree to spend some on the hurricane-damaged states.
"And if it's in there, maybe disaster-area people will vote with me on ANWR," he said Wednesday.Source
Details aside, Stevens pledged to stay in Washington until he passes an ANWR bill, even if that means keeping senators in Washington through the year-end holidays.And that's just Plan A. Plan B is to attach ANWR to the Pentagon Budget. Can't very well vote against the troops, now can we?
"Recess comes when we're finished, and that's one of the things we've got to finish," Stevens told a throng of reporters following him down Senate corridors Wednesday afternoon. "I've waited 25 years for this. Twenty-five years."(Source: same as above)
Lawmakers and senior aides said they were seriously considering tacking the drilling proposal onto a Pentagon spending bill that is among those that must pass before Congress heads home in the next few days. The switch, they said, could clear the way for approval of the spending cuts sought by conservatives and the Arctic drilling plan that is a priority of Republicans and the Bush administration, provided they could defeat any filibuster.Bill First of Tennessee backs Stevens 100%. Maybe he should use the nuclear option?:
"It's going to be on one bill or the other before I go home," said Senator Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska, a leading proponent of opening the Arctic plain to oil production.Source
Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority leader, said he was willing to pursue any option to win approval of Arctic drilling. "I support opening ANWR to energy production to help increase our energy independence and protect our nation from terrorists taking our energy supplies hostage, and want to move it through the House and Senate however I can," Mr. Frist said in a statement. (Source: same as above.)
-- by JD