Gov. Frank Murkowski signed an appropriations bill March 17 that
earmarks $1.3 million of state funds to lobby for oil drilling in
the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Reuters reported.
bill allocates $1.1 million to Arctic Power, an Anchorage-based
nonprofit group that wants to open the northeastern Alaska wildlife
refuge to oil drilling.
gives $100,000 to a lobbying effort conducted by the governor's
office and an additional $100,000 for lobbying by the Inupiat Eskimo
village of Kaktovik, a community on the refuge's coastal plain that
is largely in favor of development, the news agency reported.
said state funding for the effort, which the Legislature grants
each year, is crucial now that Senate Republican leaders are seeking
to attach a pro-drilling provision to a budget bill and could avoid
a Democratic-led filibuster.
is critical, given the opportunity we now have in Congress to get
ANWR open, to have the funding we will need to make it happen,"
Murkowski said in a news release. He is a former U.S. senator who
spent much of his career advocating for oil drilling in the refuge.
world oil prices fell March 18 as the United States moved closer
to war with Iraq, removing uncertainty that had driven up costs
and causing market speculation.
London, international benchmark crude oil slid by as much as $3.08
(U.S.) a barrel, or about 10 percent, to a three-month low of $26.40.
By the early afternoon, prices had edged back up to $27.45, according
to wire service reports.
crude futures fell $3.26 or 9.3 per cent to $31.67 per barrel. A
day earlier, crude oil fell to a five-week low on speculation that
a U.S. war against Iraq will start soon and end quickly, with limited
disruption to Persian Gulf oil shipments.