David Roberts

David Roberts

Energy, politics, and more

David Roberts is a staff writer for Grist. You can subscribe to his RSS feed or follow him on Twitter or email him at droberts at grist dot org, if you're into that sort of thing.

Stevens and the defense bill

Update [2005-12-19 14:47:12 by David Roberts]: Oops, I forgot the obvious: To try to stop this thing, please write your Senators. As forecast last week, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) managed to get Arctic Refuge drilling attached to the defense spending bill. He couldn't wrangle it into the budget reconciliation bill, so this is his last-ditch effort. He has said: Katrina will be on this [defense] bill. That's what makes the defense bill a little bit attractive because Katrina will be there. It is going to be awful hard to vote against Katrina. The levees will be paid for when we drill in ANWR. The House passed the bill in a "bleary, pre-dawn vote" this morning (they must be so proud of themselves). Now everything comes down to the vote in the Senate. Democrats have promised to filibuster the bill. "I don't have any hesitation to be a part of a filibuster," said Democrat Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. "This is a fight worth waging." This is really end-game time, folks. Below the fold, I've put some quotes from people reacting to Stevens' bid, culled from various sources (Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, news reports, etc.).

TIME person(s) of the year

Turns out Mother Nature is not, in fact, TIME's Person of the Year, as was rumored. Instead, the honor goes to Bill and Melinda Gates and ... Bono.

Meatrix 2

is coming ...

The Arctic Shuffle

One: One questioner pointed out the tepid support for ANWR from oil companies, "leading some on Wall Street to say this is more of a political issue than an energy economics issue." Another person pointed out that Norton's forecast of a million barrels a day from ANWR was "somewhat underwhelming." Two (via EE): If geologists were to decide that there were only three thimbles of oil beneath area 1002, there would still be something to be said for going down to get them, just to prove that this nation cannot be forever paralyzed by people wielding environmentalism as a cover for collectivism. Three: It's not about oil any more, it's about political power, and if they have to piss on one of the country's last untouched places to prove their wankers are bigger, they'll do it.

Arctic Refuge drilling to be attached to defense appropriations bill

Oh crap. From Congressional Quarterly: Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ted Stevens said Thursday that House and Senate appropriators have agreed to attach drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to the Defense bill in conference, though it is unclear if he can muster the 60 votes needed to end a filbuster on the legislation that the move would provoke. "We've agreed to put ANWR on it so we'll just have to wait and see what's going to happen," said Stevens, R-Alaska. "The leaders of the subcommittee on both sides have agreed. They will support it so I think it will pass." ... Stevens, a staunch supporter of energy exploration in ANWR, had outlined a gambit Wednesday to link drilling in the region to hurricane relief aid that also will likely be attached to the Defense spending measure (HR 2863) in the hope that Gulf Coast lawmakers would vote with him. Tying the measure to support for the troops makes voting to sustain a filibuster doubly hard. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., made it clear to Senate leaders earlier this week that ANWR drilling cannot pass in the House on the budget savings package, and suggested using the Defense Appropriations conference report as the alternate vehicle, according to a Senate GOP aide. ... Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who voted against the Senate budget savings package largely because of his opposition to ANWR drilling, said it would put him in a difficult position if ANWR were attached to the final Defense spending bill. "I have a clear position on ANWR. I have a clear position on supporting our troops," Coleman said. ... Some Democrats attacked Stevens' plan Thursday. "Like Ahab, certain Republicans are so dedicated to a lost cause that they have lost their reason in the process," said Rep. Ed J. Markey, D-Mass., in a statement. Markey said adding ANWR to the Defense appropriations bill would slow down the approval of funding for the troops. "Let us hope that those who captain the Senate will turn this ship around before it founders on a filibuster," Markey said.

More Pombo rumbling

Hmm ...


Yesterday I posted some of an article from Congressional Quarterly about the mad rush by some Congressfolk -- particularly Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) -- to get Arctic Refuge drilling passed this year. They sense that this is their last chance. I really encourage you to go read it if you haven't already. It's quite eye-opening. Stevens is aiming to put Gulf hurricane relief and refuge drilling together in the same bill (either the budget bill or the defense appropriations bill), so lawmakers have to vote for both or against both. "It's going to be awfully hard to vote against [hurricane aid]," Stevens said. "If it's in there, maybe people will vote with me on ANWR." Take a moment and really think that over. Stevens is talking about holding aid to desperately needy people hostage in order to shove through a drilling provision contrary to the repeatedly expressed preferences of the majority of Americans. By now this kind of stuff barely raises an eyebrow -- Stevens obviously feels no shame openly discussing it -- but that doesn't make it any less venal.

Bill Gates bets on ethanol

I don't think Tom Philpott is going to be happy about this. Industrial corn, as far as the eye can see ...

Polar bears drowning

I thought this new Greenpeace commercial was kind of a cutesy joke. But no: Turns out polar bears really are drowning. (Yeah, it's subscription only, so there's an excerpt below the fold.)

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