24 May 2006 19:51 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--The House of Representatives may vote as early as tomorrow on yet another bid to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, congressional sources said on Wednesday.
Republican members of Congress who serve on two key energy committees are rushing a refuge-drilling bill to a full floor vote in the House in hopes of capitalizing on new sentiment in the House in favour of developing more domestic energy resources.
A bill introduced last Friday, 19 May, by Representative Richard Pombo (Republican-California) would open 2,000 acres of the 20m-acre refuge to oil and gas development.
Ordinarily a bill introduced in the House would spend months in various committees being shaped and tweaked before being voted out of committee to the full House for consideration and a floor vote.
Pombo’s bill, however, is being rushed to the full House for a vote that could come tomorrow or Friday, according to a House Resources Committee spokesman. Pombo is chairman of that committee.
Pombo and Representative Joe Barton of ?xml:namespace>
In the letter, the Republicans argue that opening a small part of the refuge acreage to energy development ultimately would deliver 1.5m bbls/day of much-needed oil to the Lower 48 states, create up to 1m new jobs and add some $150bn (€117bn) to the US treasury in leasing and royalty revenues.
A full House vote on opening the arctic refuge to energy development would come barely a week after the House narrowly defeated a separate measure to lift the 25-year-old congressional moratoria on energy development in most of the
The shift of so many votes in the House on the offshore energy issue is seen as a major change in congressional sentiment on energy and the need to access more domestic
Even if the attempt fails, House Republicans may see this impending vote on arctic refuge energy development as an opportunity to force House Democrats - who almost uniformly oppose drilling in the refuge - to again vote against more domestic energy development at a time when voters are paying near record prices for gasoline and have recently been paying record natural gas prices.
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