Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise
A House-Senate conference committee yesterday dropped from a major budget bill a controversial provision that could have opened the way for oil and gas drilling in part of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The measure, approved by the Senate last week, assumed that $1.2 billion would be raised from a lease sale of drilling rights in ANWR by 2005. Enviros applauded the conference committee for eliminating the provision, though they know the fight is far from over. Alaska Sen. Frank Murkowski (R) plans to continue his push to open ANWR to oil exploration. He has already introduced one bill that would allow drilling the refuge, and he plans to insert a similar provision in a large energy bill that will be introduced in coming weeks.