25 May 2006 21:22 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--The US House of Representatives voted on Thursday to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas drilling, but the issue faces possible defeat in the Senate.
The House voted 225-201 to pass the measure sponsored by Representative Richard Pombo (Republican-California) that would allow oil and gas resources development on 2,000 acres of the 20m-acre refuge in northern Alaska.
In advance of the vote, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association and the American Chemistry Council joined more than a dozen other industrial and energy trade groups in urging passage of the Pombo bill. Citing record-high costs for natural gas and for gasoline, the trade groups argued that “We cannot afford to ignore ANWR as a great potential for increased supplies.”
The House has approved energy development in the refuge several times, but the effort to open the resource-rich region to drilling typically has been defeated in the Senate where Democrats have used the filibuster to prevent the measure from coming to a vote.
Most recently, a Democrat filibuster defeated a House-approved refuge drilling bill in December last year.
Senate action on the refuge drilling matter is not yet scheduled.
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