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Congress angling through budget to open Arctic Refuge to drilling

**FILE** Caribou graze on a section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska in this undated file photo. The dispute over drilling in an Artic wildlife refuge has stymied energy legislation, prompting the Bush administration to link the debate to national security. The first big environmental showdown of the new Congress is expected to come within weeks as the Senate plans to use a budget measure to try to open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil development, hoping to sidestep strong Democratic opposition. (Associated Press)
**FILE** Caribou graze on a section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska in this undated file photo. The dispute over drilling in an Artic wildlife refuge has stymied energy legislation, prompting the Bush administration to link the debate to national security. The first big environmental showdown of the new Congress is expected to come within weeks as the Senate plans to use a budget measure to try to open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil development, hoping to sidestep strong Democratic opposition. (Associated Press)
PUBLIC LANDS – As predicted, Congress appears to be on the path of opening one of the country's purest critical wildlife areas to petroleum development without bringing the measure, which has bipartisan opposition, to a specific vote.
 
The U.S. Senate voted down an amendment last week that would have prevented Congress from advancing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as part of a multi-step budget process that is intended to be the basis for tax reform. Essentially, the senators voted to open refuge drilling to raise revenue.

Recently, the House narrowly passed a budget resolution that includes Arctic Refuge drilling. 

The upcoming congressional budget reconciliation process is the final opportunity to remove the Arctic Refuge drilling authorization from the budget.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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