06 February 2006 20:40 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--The White House said on Monday it expects Congress this year to authorize oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and is asking Congress for preliminary funding for that development.
In his budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2007, President George W Bush also said he is seeking additional spending for the Department of the Interior (DoI) to clear a backlog of oil and gas drilling permit applications.
As part of the overall fiscal 2007 budget request of $2.77trn (Euro2.32trn), the $12.4m in additional funding sought for preparatory work in ANWR is miniscule, but it signals Bush administration determination to get ANWR development under way.
“The budget assumes Congress will enact legislation authorizing energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 2006,” the president’s budget message says.
“The additional funds will support the required environmental analyses and other preparatory work in advance of the first ANWR lease sale in 2008,” the White House said.
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DoI said its budget includes $42m “to address the surging workload” in processing a significant increase in the number of permit-to-drill applications now pending at DoI.
That backlog in drilling permit applications has been cited by chemical industry officials as a contributing factor in continuing high prices for natural gas.
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