U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said this week that he’s prepared to take on Sen. John Kerry if the Democrat from Massachusetts follows through on a threat to filibuster legislation permitting oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Lott said he would use the occasion to blame Democrats and environmentalists for energy shortages and the rising cost of energy bills. “I don’t think a filibuster on national energy policy legislation is a responsible thing to do,” Lott said. Meanwhile, the Alaska state Senate is moving quickly on a budget bill that would boost funding for a private group lobbying to open the Arctic Refuge to drilling, while shortchanging a nursing home in the state.