Offshore and Arctic Refuge drilling out of House bill — for now
House Republican efforts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and U.S. coastal waters to oil drilling are dead for now, but are likely to return, zombie-like, from the grave. Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) had offered legislation, intended as part of a larger House energy package, that would have allowed individual states to opt out of the coastal oil-drilling moratorium in return for a cut of the resulting federal royalties. Although there were signs last week that it was gaining key adherents among Florida representatives, the House Resources Committee subsequently amended the measure to open all federal waters to natural-gas drilling — with no control by states. Florida’s reps protested, and yesterday Pombo withdrew the entire measure from consideration, including his proposal for Arctic Refuge drilling. But we’ve all seen the horror movies: This ain’t over. Pombo is eyeing an upcoming filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bill as a likely vehicle for riders on both issues. It lives!