Thursday, November 10, 2005

Safe again...for now

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is once again safe from drilling, as the same strategy which won approval for the drilling initiative in the U.S. Senate doomed the plan in the House:
U.S. house leaders late yesterday abandoned an attempt to push through a hotly contested plan to open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil drilling.

They dropped the plan because they feared it would jeopardize approval of a sweeping budget bill today...

The House repeatedly has approved drilling in the refuge as part of broad energy legislation, only to see the effort blocked each time by the threat of a filibuster in the Senate.

The budget bill is immune from filibuster, but drilling proponents suddenly found it hard to get the measure accepted by a majority of the House.

That's because Democrats heartily oppose the overall budget bill, giving House Republican opponents of drilling in the Arctic enough leverage to have the matter killed.
The story may not be over just yet, but it appeared when the Senate passed its budget bill that there would be little chance of preserving ANWR. Due credit to the members of the House who took the initiative to force the removal of the pro-drilling language.

It'll only take one common vote between the House and Senate to permanently undermine the refuge...but at the very least, that common vote has been pushed back once again.

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