Thursday, August 11, 2005

GOP Members Oppose Arctic Oil in Budget

Yahoo! News reports Two dozen House Republicans, including three committee chairmen, have asked Speaker Dennis Hastert not to use a congressional budget procedure to clear the way for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

It appears we have three openings for Committee Chairmen in the House
They said in a letter to Hastert, R-Ill., that the budget process "is an inappropriate venue to be debating this important environmental issue" and warned that it would further complicate already difficult budget issues. "We believe the debate on opening this unique land to oil and gas exploration should be done outside the budget process," said the group led by Rep. Jeb Bradley, R-N.H., in an Aug. 4 letter made public Wednesday.
Jeb, you are an idiot. No matter what the House does, if it is not in the budget bill, it will be filibustered in the Senate.
Among those signing the letter were three committee chairmen: Science Chairman Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y.; Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Government Reform Chairman Thomas Davis, R-Va.
Did they include their resignation letters as Chairmen, or must they be removed?
The letter also was sent to Budget Committee Chairman James Nussle, R-Iowa, and Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Calif. Pombo strongly supports opening the 1.5 million acre coastal plain of the Alaska refuge to oil development. A Pombo spokeswoman said he had not yet decided whether to include a provision authorizing oil lease sales in the Alaska refuge in a so-called budget "reconciliation" document. Under congressional rules, drilling could be authorized if the Resource Committee decides to rely on an expected $2.4 billion from potential oil lease sales in the refuge to meet budget targets.
Do it.
The House has repeatedly approved ANWR drilling in recent years only to have the matter die in the Senate where opponents have used filibusters to block the legislation. The budget reconciliation document, which has the force of law if approved and signed by President Bush, is not subject to filibuster. ANWR drilling supporters failed to get an ANWR provision into the recently enacted energy bill. They were assured the issue would be taken up again as part of the budget process next month.
And it must be.
Most Democrats oppose developing the estimated 5 billion to 10 billion barrels of oil believed to lie beneath the refuge's coastal plain because they contend drilling would harm the wildlife there.
They are idiots. They only plan to use a very small piece of the costal plain.
If they gain the support of a significant number of Republicans, it could turn the tide against drilling when the issue comes up as part of the budget process next month. While raising concerns, the 24 GOP lawmakers who signed the letter did not all say they would vote against the budget if an ANWR provision were included.

Hugh Hewitt blogged This story is astonishing. If the GOP does not deliver on new oil exploration in a time of $60 a barrel oil, it will provide ammuntion to every cynic who believes that the Congress is incapable of acting on any issue that is remotely difficult. After the war, the courts, and the defense of marriage, energy exploration was the hot button in the past three elections, and not just because of the cost of gas, but also because it represents the defeat of environmentalist posing by clear-eyed science and the belief in progress. I doubt the Speaker will be swayed, but if this measure fails in the House, it will be an invitation to the base --every bit as compelling as the failure to confirm Roberts would be in the Senate-- to sit out '06.

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