ANWR bill passes House, faces challenge in Senate

| 5/26/2006

The U.S. House has passed a controversial bill that would allow drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. However, there is little doubt from either side of the issue that it will fail in the Senate.

Sponsored by House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-CA, the bill – HR5429 –was approved Friday, May 26, with a 225-201 vote.

The provision must now be approved by the Senate before it can be signed into law by President Bush. However, the bill makes ANWR a stand-alone issue, similar to a bill that was shot down in the Senate during last year’s legislative session.

Several of the bill’s supporters have acknowledged the slim chance of the bill getting past a filibuster from the largely Democratic opposition in the Senate.

Opponents, however, say ANWR drilling must first be shown as a viable way to eliminate energy shortages and foreign oil dependency.

“If opening ANWR would have an immediate short-term or near-term impact on energy supplies or prices, then possibly it might influence how someone votes,” Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, told Congressional Quarterly Today.