Domenici to bring ANWR leasing legislation back

Nick Snow
Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 27 -- Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete V. Domenici announced that he would try to bring back legislation authorizing federal oil and gas leasing on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain in the new year.

A provision authorizing leasing within the refuge died when the Senate removed it from the fiscal 2006 defense appropriation on Dec. 21 after proponents failed to invoke cloture against a threatened filibuster (OGJ Online, Dec. 21, 2005).

The House accepted the revision one day later before sending the defense bill to the White House for President George W. Bush's signature.

"This issue is too important to our consumers and economy to accept defeat," Domenici said after the cloture vote on Dec. 21.

"I will seek to include an ANWR provision in the budget resolution next spring, just as we did this year. I will work to keep it in the budget reconciliation and hope for a more favorable outcome in the House," he said.

Domenici and other Senate ANWR leasing proponents tried to avoid a filibuster by including a provision in the fiscal 2006 budget package late last spring. But the House leadership pulled the provision after a group of moderate Republicans in the House threatened to vote against the budget in early November if it remained.

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alas.) then attached a provision to authorize leasing within ANWR in the defense appropriations bill after other House members asked him to do so. The provision also would have increased aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina and assistance under the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Plan.

"ANWR remains one of our top priorities. Developing more of our own energy is the right thing to do for our economy, our consumers and our security. I'm not walking away from this challenge," Domenici said.

Contact Nick Snow at nsnow@cox.net.

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