Thursday, November 10, 2005

ANWR Drilling Dropped from House Bill

Five years in office, with Republican majorities in Congress, BushCo is still having trouble getting approval to open up ANWR to oil drilling. The Washington Post reports that the House nixed the plan:
House GOP leaders agreed last night to strip plans to permit oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in the offshore continental shelf from a $54 billion budget-cutting measure, probably securing the votes to pass the bill today.
The move is a blow to President Bush, who has made expanded oil exploration a priority since he took office. Lawmakers said the White House applied pressure yesterday to Republicans to save the drilling provisions, especially in Alaska, even wooing conservative Democrats who have steadfastly opposed the GOP budget package.
Perhaps knowing that they wouldn't see a drop of oil for at least 7 to 12 years dampened their enthsusiasm. Or maybe this isn't a good time to be doing favors for oil executives, who dutifully came to Capitol Hill yesterday to be lectured on high gas prices and windfall profits:
Senators struck a note of populist outrage when they ordered oil executives to appear before the Energy and Commerce committees to explain high fuel prices and record company profits. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), announcing the hearing, said it would expose "those who abuse the free-enterprise system to advantage themselves and their businesses at the expense of all Americans."
But instead of calling oil executives on the carpet yesterday, senators gave them the red-carpet treatment.
To preserve the executives' delicate sensibilities, they were allowed to testify without the usual swearing in:
When Energy Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska, $102,190) announced that he would not require the executives to give their testimony under oath, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash., $9,400) asked for a vote on the issue. Stevens shot back: "There will be no vote . . . It's the decision of the chairman, and I have made that decision."

The executives left with some of their dignity intact but without the prize they wanted--the chance to push the caribou aside to make room for their drilling rigs.


Blogger bennett said...

Join Cantwell to Protect Puget Sound from Big Oil Tankers

Washington, D.C. -- Maria Cantwell is working to protect Puget Sound from a top Senate Republican's efforts to open the Sound up as a super-port for oil to be shipped overseas and across the country.

Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, the very same Senator who defeated Maria Cantwell's efforts to defend the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from drilling, has quietly introduced a bill in the Senate to permit high-volume oil tankers to dock in the Puget Sound, making Washington's pristine waterways and coastlines at risk for oil spills and tanker traffic.

In response to Stevens' legislation, Cantwell not only vowed to stop the bill, but emailed Washingtonians to warn them of the threat our state faces.

"We have to show Senator Stevens that Washington state won't stand by silently and let one of our greatest treasures fall to the whims of greedy oil companies," said Cantwell in her email. "Please join me in signing this petition to keep the Magnuson Amendment in place and protect Washington's waterways and coastlines from being overrun with oil tankers."

In 1977, Washington's Senator Warren Magnuson moved to protect Puget Sound against just such a move with the Magnusson Amendment which limited oil tanker traffic in Puget Sound and kept the Cherry Point Refinery near Bellingham focused on meeting the energy needs of our state, not the rest of the country.

Stevens' secretive plan will reverse important protections that both Republicans and Democrats in Washington have supported for decades. Senator Stevens is working for the oil companies and against Washington state – helping oil companies increase their profits, while putting one of Washington state's greatest treasures at risk.

SIGN CANTWELL'S PETITION: Visit and join Maria Cantwell in the fight to protect Puget Sound.

10:29 PM, November 10, 2005  

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