Oily to Rise
It seems likely that the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will approve a plan to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas drilling. Reuters predicts the vote will be 12-11 in favor of drilling, with Democrat Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Daniel Akaka (Hawaii) crossing party lines in support of drilling and Republican Sen. Gordon Smith (Ore.) opposing drilling. Drilling opponents still believe they will prevail on the Senate floor and block efforts to open the Arctic Refuge. Meanwhile, in other oily Alaska news, a coalition of local and national environmental groups want state and federal leaders to bill ExxonMobil another $100 million to help clean up after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.