Republicans want ANWR drilling in wake of oil supply threat

| Thursday, April 11, 2002

Rising oil prices, the Iraqi 30-day oil export cut-off, and an oil export slowdown in Venezuela prompted Republicans this week to push for approval of drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

President Bush Monday suggested the issue is ripe for a vote. He was joined Tuesday by Interior Secretary Gail Norton and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.

The House has approved drilling in the refuge. The issue for Republican Senate leaders is whether to seek a vote now or hope refuge drilling can be addressed during a House-Senate conference on the energy package.

Meanwhile, experts have said the halt of oil sales by Iraq will not have much impact on the U.S. economy. The United States normally buys about a third of what Iraq can produce, or about 800,000 barrels a day.

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