Two longtime Congressional enemies — Reps. Don Young (R-Alaska) and George Miller (D-Calif.) — teamed up yesterday to successfully push a bill through the House Resources Committee that would earmark about $2.9 billion dollars in offshore oil drilling royalties each year for environmental protection. The money, some $2.5 billion more than is currently spent from oil revenues on conservation, could be used for land acquisition, coastline protection, creation of urban parks, and preservation of wildlife. Young fought off amendments from conservative Western Republicans that would have weakened the bill. The measure faces a tough fight going into the full House, but Young said he believes it has a good shot at passage next summer; a comparable measure has support in the Senate. Many enviros are supportive of the legislation, which has been called the most important environmental bill in the current Congress, while others criticize it because they say some of the conservation money could be used for road construction.

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