Although a group of predominately Republican U.S. Senators failed to open drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge last year, there’s
a renewed interest on Capitol Hill in getting the controversial measure
approved in 2006.
This time, instead of tacking the provision onto a larger
bill, Senate Budget Chairman Judd Gregg, R-NH, and Senate Energy and Natural
Resources Chairman Pete Domenici, R-NM, are pushing to add it as a separate
line item in the reconciliation of President Bush’s $2.7 trillion Fiscal Year
“While I strongly support the advancement of science and
technologies to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources, I think that
we must also build the bridge to that age by accessing the oil and gas
resources available in our country,” Domenici said in a press release. “And, we
must reasonably and responsibly conserve our energy.”
However, even some supporters of the bill have shown
hesitation in supporting the addition of a line item in the budget for ANWR
“I do not think the reconciliation packages that we do at
the end of the year ought to be an occasion to revisit substantive decisions
we’re already made,” Rep. Artur Davis, D-AL, told Congressional Quarterly
Despite strident lobbying and what some considered to be
rule-breaking behavior by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-AK, the Senate on Dec. 21, 2005,
denied the most recent attempt to pass an ANWR provision, which was part of a
much larger $453 billion defense appropriations bill.
After it failed in the Senate, lawmakers across Washington vowed to pass the bill during the next legislative year.