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Senate Votes to Allow Arctic Drilling

March 16, 2005 | Environment

by David Stout
The New York Times (Published: March 16, 2005)

WASHINGTON, March 16 - The Senate endorsed oil-drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge today, giving President Bush and others who favor exploration of the Alaska wilderness a major victory.

The 51-to-49 vote was in favor of a budget resolution that assumes revenues of some $5 billion from drilling fees over the next decade, with the federal government and the state of Alaska to split the money.

While this afternoon's vote is not the final word on the issue, it nevertheless made drilling in the wilds of Alaska - an idea favored by the oil industry and fiercely opposed by environmental groups - far more likely than before.

For drilling to take place, the Senate will later have to pass a measure explicitly authorizing the opening of the wildlife refuge to drilling, something that until now has been prohibited. Then the House of Representatives would have to explicitly authorize drilling as well.

But the Senate has long been the biggest obstacle, since opponents have used the chamber's parliamentary devices - notably, the threat of a filibuster, a stalling tactic that requires 60 of the Senate's 100 votes to overcome - to frustrate proponents of drilling.

This afternoon's vote came on an amendment sponsored by Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington. It would have removed language in the budget resolution for 2006 that assumes that drilling will take place.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican who supports drilling, noted just before the vote that "the price of oil just jumped up to 56 bucks a barrel this morning."

The closeness of this afternoon's vote could be a prelude to bitter debate ahead. President Bush and many Republicans say drilling in the refuge would help make the United States less dependent on foreign sources of oil.

Opponents, who include most Democrats and some Republican moderates, contend that drilling in the refuge would endanger one of the last unspoiled regions of wilderness in North America, and that in the long run it would not be the answer to America's energy problems.

The debate focuses on about 1.5 million acres of coastal plain within the 19-million acre refuge. Oil industry representatives have said that drilling would be confined to only about 2,000 acres within the 1.5 million acres, and that it can be done with a minimum of environmental damage.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Against Drilling

YEAs -- 49

Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carper (D-DE)
Chafee (R-RI)
Clinton (D-NY)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Corzine (D-NJ)
Dayton (D-MN)
DeWine (R-OH)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
McCain (R-AZ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Obama (D-IL)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Schumer (D-NY)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Wyden (D-OR)

For Drilling

NAYs -- 51

Akaka (D-HI)
Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Allen (R-VA)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burns (R-MT)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Frist (R-TN)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Inouye (D-HI)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Santorum (R-PA)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Sununu (R-NH)
Talent (R-MO)
Thomas (R-WY)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)

Comments

My constant urgings to Alabama's two senators to vote against drilling for oil in ANWR fell on deaf, dumb ears. They always vote how their puppet boss indicates they should vote. I would SO LOVE IT if I had representation in congress!

The desecration of the Earth and its resources which have made "human life and fulfillment" and that of of all the "other" inhabitants of this planet possible is deplorable - unspeakable! Have we no concern for the generations that follow us?

I am so disappointed in our senators from Hawaii; they should, most of all, be aware of the impacts to environment and culture as it exists in this area. For 6-12 months of oil supply, this is a travesty, in my opinion, to ALL of the natural habitat, caribou included. They are setting a precedent that may mean the destruction of many additional ecosystems in the U.S.

I love animals but i believe drilling at anwar is a great thing for the country. Only one tenth of one percent of the refuge would be affected. I would like to see a few cents per gallon be contributed to wildlife funds. How come all the comments i read on this site are negative? Do you edit out the ones you don't agree with?

Victor Main should know that Friends of Animals has visited Prudhoe Bay, now an industrial complex and an environmental disaster. That's reason enough to oppose turning the refuge's unique wilderness into a monstrosity of pipelines, gravel roads, air strips,exploration equipment, drilling rigs, processing stations, and human dwellings. Friends of Animals maintains that the U.S. has a moral obligation to keep the coastal plain's 1.5 million acres off-limits to oil exploration. Drilling would violate and exploit one of the last unspoliled regions of wilderness in North America. A progressive view calls for conservation, relying less on oil and gas, more fuel-efficient cars, and development of alternative forms of energy like wind, solar and corn-based ethanol. Priscilla Feral Friends of Animals

It is curious to me that the price of a barrel of oil hit an all time high just before the Senate voted to drill in the Arctic. Do they really think we are that stupid? Obvioulsly they don't care. I am also very disappointed in the senators from Hawaii. This administration and its followers will stop at nothing to further the interests of the oil and automobile companies. We still don't have a meaningful energy policy. We are still making the gas guzzling SUV's. Much of the blame also rests with the American public who are still buying these automobiles and who re-elected this group.

It really breaks my heart and spirit to hear of the drilling that has been O.K.'d for the ANWR. Already there is no room for wild creatures to call home. There are so many alternatives for energy such as wind and solar energy, but our greedy government insists on destroying the environment. I guess smarter and more humane options just don't put enought money in their pockets.

THIS PROPELS ME TO A LEVEL OF PISSED OFF I HAVE NOT KNOWN SINCE NOVEMBER!!!!!! Why does our government hate the environment so much?!?! Do those idiots not realize that we ONLY HAVE ONE WORLD and if we *#@% it up we won't get another chance!! We need to be working on finding ways to use LESS OIL not destroying what little is not yet destroyed so we can use MORE OIL!!! I'm just glad my guy Obama voted against it. Save a tree. Remove a Bush.

It seems as though humans are once again resorting to the easiet way out by seeking a quick fix to obtain more oil instead of a real answer to fuel shortages. The cost in terms of the long term destruction of that ecosystem far exceeds any benefit from the small amount of oil that will be obtained. I am proud of my Connecticut representation that voted against this outrageous bill. Humans such as these who support the bill put themselves to shame by supporting the destruction of the very environment in which they live simply order to maintain a certan way of life. Even worse, this is done without any regard to the lives of the other co-inhabitants of that world. Those who support this bill are saying that human lives are the only ones that matter. I am very sad to say, that the passing of this bill is another statement of our collective failure to live in harmony with the animals that also inhabit the world. If anything, our brain's increased capacity confers on us an even greater responsibility to come up with a good solution for all the earth's inhabitants, including plants and animals- not to mention Mother Earth! It's time we thought outside of the box and stopped crawling into it.

I just can't believe that Republican's and others that support this bill is so greedy that they are willing to distroy the earth and everything sacred just to make money, all for 6 months worth of oil. I'm sure there are other ways to get through life than distroying everything around you. As a mother, this is more frustrating because, even though all this might not affect me, it will certainly affect my children and my children's children. It boggles my mind that everyperson on the Senate or of any authority with a family is not considering alternative methods. And this is the resons other countries consider the US greedy and have no respect for us. Bush is by far the most backward president we have had since Reagan...I cannot believe the calousness and stupidity of his leadership...and we can't even empeach because look at the Vice president. We can't win for loosing. And what is even worse, the media is treating it like it's no big deal. I am really scared for the future.

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