Thought the debate over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was (thank goodness) finally over? Think again: An inexplicable move by the Senate Democratic leadership could revive the Bush administration’s campaign to pump gas and oil out of the pristine Alaskan wilderness. When debate over the nation’s energy plan moved into a joint House-Senate committee last week, the issue of drilling was presumed dead because of a strong vote against it in the Senate in mid-April. (The House approved drilling in the Arctic Refuge.) The Senate chose eight Democrats, eight Republicans, and Independent James Jeffords (Vt.) to serve on the committee. Jeffords and seven of the eight Democrats oppose drilling — but one of them, John Breaux (La.), supports it, tipping the balance in favor of opening the Arctic Refuge. A Republican aide said the selection seemed to be an error on the part of the Democrats.

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