White House makes last-ditch effort to open Arctic Refuge to drilling

The Bush administration is mounting a last-ditch effort to persuade Congress to approve drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before lawmakers break for the holidays. Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao are out furiously shopping talking points: It would supply New Hampshire’s oil needs for 315 years! It would create thousands of jobs! Did we say “thousands”? We meant a million! The moderate House Republicans who blocked the drilling provision from being included in a big budget bill are fielding White House offers to fund pet projects, as are 30 or so House Democrats who’ve supported drilling in the past. But House Dems appear united in opposition to the budget bill, in large part because it would make deep cuts to social programs, and the green-minded House Republicans say they’re not budging either. At the moment, drilling supporters seem to be at an impasse. Hold your breath …

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