New Arctic Refuge drilling bill would spend proceeds on alt-energy

The recurring nightmare of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is back, but with a new twist: proceeds would support alternative energy. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is introducing a bill today to open 2,000 acres of the refuge to oil drilling. Backers of the legislation estimate that in coming decades, refuge development could bring in up to $40 billion in revenue — all of which would go toward providing tax credits for solar power, cellulosic (not corn) ethanol, and coal-to-liquid fuel technologies. The legislation is co-sponsored by drill-obsessed Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), and also has support from two of California’s Democratic representatives. Historically, Arctic Refuge drilling bills have passed the House and been shot down in the Senate. Nunes thinks his new bill has a better chance — “There are a lot of Democratic senators over there that have a lot of ethanol interests in their state,” he said — but it’s still considered a long shot.