Thursday, November 03, 2005

Senate Cedes ANWAR to Oil Companies

The Republican-controlled Senate voted today to reject a last-ditch attempt by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) to protect Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling and voted 51-48 to open it to the oil companies.

Cantwell tried to keep Republicans from sneaking the approval into a budget bill, in a tactic whereby the GOP inserted a provision in that bill that allows for drilling in the

"This debate is more than just about the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. It is not simply about protecting one of America's last remaining great treasures," said Cantwell in arguing for her amendment on the Senate floor. "Rather, it is a debate that forces us to confront our priorities. It forces us to ask basic critical questions: Where do we go from here on the future of our energy policy? What inheritance do we want to leave our children from an environmental perspective?"

The bill was defeated on a mostly party-line vote. Seven Republicans were bold enough to vote against drilling in ANWAR, while three Democrats – Akaka and Inouye of Hawaii and Landrieu of Louisiana – voted with the Republican majority.

Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) said the entire prospect of drilling in Alaska has come up because of the lack of a coherent energy policy by the Bush administration.

"Sadly, regardless of when or where we have this debate, we have it because of a failure, most recently encapsulated by this administration's flawed Energy bill, to provide the American public with an energy policy that actually looks to the future,"
said the Wisconsin senator.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) called it for what it is: a gift to the big oil companies.

"We are going to defile this wildlife refuge to drill for oil that can be exported, that won't even benefit the United States. Why would we do that? There is only one reason--because the oil companies will make a huge profit off of it," said Durbin

And that's the name of that tune.