Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.
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Monday, March 14, 2005
ANWR vote coming up
A week from Wednesday the Senate is likely to vote on a budget resolution that includes a provision for opening up a part of ANWR (Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve) to oil drilling. Republicans are amending this to the budget because budget measures cannot be filibustered - thus requiring just 51 votes to pass. ANWR qualifies to be a budget measure because it will generate tax revenues for the government from the oil companies.
I admit I am of two minds on ANWR. I like to think of myself as highly sensitive to environmental issues, but I'm also scared that our dependence on foreign oil is dangerous from an economic and geopolitical standpoint. Add to that the fact that most Alaskans, including Tony Knowles, the Democrat who ran unsuccessfully in 2004, support drilling, and you get a complicated issue.
In fact, the public appears to be somewhat split too. A Zogby poll in Dec '04 found 55% against drilling, not a huge margin. Another poll going around shows 53% support, but that was done by Frank Luntz who is a well known GOP strategist (the producer of a 160-page GOP playbook on how to articulate social security and other arguments).
So it will be interesting to see if this Congress once and for all gets what they've wanted all along in ANWR, and if independents are opposed then they have to realize this is what a Republican dominated legislature looks like - forcing things through with little debate.
Update: Interior Secretary Gale Norton: We'd only develop a tiny sliver, and technology allows us to do so with minimal impact on the environment. Editorial from NYTimes: ANWR would only scratch the surface of the problem, and same effect can be produced with a few simple moves like regulating SUV emissions and tax breaks for fuel-efficient car production. Shows Bush's propensity for solutions that help big companies rather than hurt them.