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U.S. House Votes to Open ANWR


(5 a.m.) Washington, D.C. December 19th -- The House of Representatives voted early this morning to open the 10-02 Area of ANWR to oil and gas exploration. The 308-106 vote was part of the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill which took place as the last act of an all night session just after 5 a.m. EST. The vote on the conference report followed a vote on the Rule (setting debate times, etc.) by a margin of 216-201. Sixteen Democrats voted to support the Rule, while 21 Republicans voted against it. Chairman Barton (Energy & Commerce Committee) returned to the floor to cast his vote in favor of ANWR only three days after suffering from a heart attack. The debate on the Conference Report lasted about an hour.

The Defense Appropriations Bill covers $453 billion in military finances which includes: $3.8 billion for bird flu preventative measures; $2 billion to help low-income families with heating costs; and $29 billion to hurricane relief, including funds for reconstructing New Orleans’ levees.

Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) commented, "this vote represents the largest potential increase of American energy supplies -- and the biggest step toward energy independence Congress has approved since 1973 when it passed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Act".

The Bill is now before the Senate for a vote. The timing for the Senate vote is not clear, but we will post the debate schedule when it becomes available. The Senate began discussions on the Bill and ANWR this morning at 9:30am (EST). A filibuster in the Senate is certain and will require 60 votes to overturn.

At this moment, approximately noon EST, the Democratic leader, Sen. Harry Reid and Senator Stevens began negotiations to shorten debate time on the Conference Report, because Senators are anxious to leave for Christmas.

Continuing his comments after this mornings win in the House, Chairman Pombo continued on to say, "when the Senate passes this bill, a nearly 20-year debate will be brought to a close and we will finally get to the business of meeting our energy demands with more American supplies. When it comes to our economy, our national security and families facing skyrocketing energy prices, this is unquestionably the right thing to do.

In addition to increasing U.S. energy security and independence, ANWR energy production will create new federal revenues to cut the federal deficit, to fund recovery efforts in Gulf Coast states devastated by recent hurricanes and to provide home heating assistance to low-income families.”

"Energy production in ANWR should also dispel, once and for all, the myth that we can only develop America's energy resources at the expense of our environment," Pombo continued. "Innovative engineering and advanced 21st century technology make energy production and environmental protection go hand-in-hand in the United States. Today the House embraced that fact. We can, we must and we will have both in ANWR."

Arctic Power encourages everyone to tune-in to CSPAN 2 on the web/ radio/ or television for live coverage of the ANWR debate in the Defense Appropriations Bill today and tomorrow.

Permalink :: Posted by Clay Butcher on December 19, 2005 :: ::
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