Dealing a blow to plans to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, Republicans on the U.S. House Budget Committee have declined to include any anticipated revenue from the drilling in the federal government budget for the next fiscal year. The chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), said his committee would follow suit. Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) and President Bush had hoped to have revenue from drilling included in a budget bill, which under Senate rules cannot be filibustered. Now, it seems likely that opponents of the drilling will be able to filibuster any bills that include a drilling provision. Sixty votes are required to end a filibuster, 10 more than Murkowski would have needed in support of a drilling provision that was part of a budget measure. In related news, nearly 500 scientists sent a letter to Bush this week, warning him that drilling in the refuge would permanently harm wildlife in the area.

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