clearn.png
Sunday July 12th, 2020 6:40AM

Arctic refuge drilling closer as Senate panel backs bill

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Oil and gas drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge moved closer Wednesday as a key Senate panel approved a bill to open the remote refuge to energy exploration.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the drilling measure, 13-10. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined 12 Republicans to back the bill.

Opening the remote refuge to oil and gas drilling is a longtime Republican priority that most Democrats fiercely oppose. The 19.6-million acre refuge in northeastern Alaska is one of the most pristine areas in the United States and is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said drilling can be done safely with new technology, while ensuring a steady energy supply for West Coast refineries. The measure would generate about $2 billion in royalties over the next decade, Murkowski said, with half the money going to her home state.

Murkowski, who chairs the Senate panel, said opening the refuge to drilling "will help keep energy affordable, saving families and businesses money every time they pay for fuel — essentially an energy tax cut."

Democrats sharply disagreed.

"What a dramatic change this is," said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. "It turns this refuge into an oil field."

The wildlife refuge has been the focus of a political fight for nearly four decades. President Bill Clinton vetoed a GOP plan to allow drilling in the refuge in 1995, and Democrats led by Cantwell defeated a similar GOP plan in 2005.

The Trump administration and congressional Republicans are pushing to revive the drilling plan as a way to help pay for proposed tax cuts promised by President Donald Trump. The GOP-approved budget includes $1 billion in revenue from drilling leases over 10 years.

Environmental groups and other critics call those projections wildly optimistic, saying low global oil prices and high exploration costs are likely to limit drilling revenue. Analysts say oil prices must be at least $70 a barrel to justify drilling. A benchmark for crude oil is about $56 a barrel.

The measure sponsored by Murkowski calls for at least two major lease sales over the next decade in at least 400,000 acres each in the refuge's coastal plain. Surface development would be limited to 2,000 acres.

The bill requires at least a 16.67 percent royalty rate evenly split between the federal government and Alaska.

Murkowski hailed the committee vote as clearing a "significant hurdle" and said she was optimistic the plan could be approved as part of larger tax measure being considered in the House and Senate.

Cantwell said after the vote it was "a tragedy that Republicans will run over something so precious as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — land that has stood undisturbed for thousands of years — all for a giveaway to oil corporations that allows them to ignore important environmental protections."

She and other Democrats said the GOP bill is especially unwise at a time when U.S. oil production is booming, with imports declining and exports reaching record levels.

If the Republican plan is approved, "we would be drilling in the Arctic Refuge in order to find more oil to export to other countries," said Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass. "We would spoil our own sacred land in order to help oil companies sell oil to China. That makes no sense."

Jason McFarland, president of the International Association of Drilling Contractors, said the plan would help the U.S. achieve President Donald Trump's goal of becoming "energy dominant" in the global market.

Opening a small portion of the refuge to drilling "represents an extraordinary opportunity to responsibly develop the vast resources that the area is believed to contain, allowing the country to develop more of its own natural resources and rely less on foreign oil," he said.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Leonardo da Vinci's Christ painting sells for record $450M
Rare painting by Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci of Christ holding crystal orb, 'Savior of the World,' sells for record $450 million at auction, topping previous record of $300 million for Willem de Kooning's painting 'Interchange'
1:37AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Feud grows between NFL, Cowboys' Jerry Jones over Goodell
The Associated Press has obtained a letter by the NFL sent to Jerry Jones' attorney accusing the Dallas Cowboys owner of "conduct detrimental to the league's best interests" over his objection to a contract extension for Commissioner Roger Goodell
1:22AM ( 23 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump says US, China agree on NKorea nukes
President Donald Trump says the U.S. and China agree that North Korea cannot just freeze its nuclear weapons program in exchange for concessions and that it must eliminate its arsenal
1:13AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Fox News' Hannity decides not to pass judgment on Roy Moore
Fox News' Sean Hannity, after giving Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore a 24-hour deadline to rebut accusations of assault and child molestation, says it's not up to him to decide
11:11PM ( 2 hours ago )
10 Things to Know for Thursday
Among 10 Things to Know: Military appears to have ended Robert Mugabe's 37-year reign in Zimbabwe; Trump keeps mum on Senate candidate Roy Moore; rare painting by Leonardo da Vinci sells for record $450 million.
11:05PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Moore campaign site adds form to report media
Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore's campaign website has added a form for people to report "inappropriate news organization contact."
11:04PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Tax panel rejects Dem health care amendments
The Senate's tax-writing panel has rejected Democrats' efforts to modify a Republican tax overhaul bill
7:30PM ( 6 hours ago )
The Latest: Moore says he never dated 'underage girls'
Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore tells Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity he never dated "underage girls" but won't be commenting further
7:24PM ( 6 hours ago )
Pence praises GOP 'momentum,' but some governors may be wary
Republicans who control two-thirds of the nation's governorships are gathering in America's largest red state, discussing how to keep dominating heartland politics
6:55PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Cowboys' Elliott drops appeal, will serve rest of 6-game ban
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has dropped his appeal with five games remaining on his six-game suspension over alleged domestic violence
11:45PM ( 2 hours ago )
Asian stocks, oil prices steady
Asian stock markets and prices of oil are steady despite a second straight day of losses on Wall Street overnight
11:10PM ( 2 hours ago )
Boras says teams should spend big and move to 'Playoffville'
Agent Scott Boras says teams should spend big and move to the gated community of 'Playoffville.'
8:44PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business
'Obamacare' mandate repeal would remake market for consumers
Millions are expected to forgo coverage if Congress repeals the unpopular requirement that Americans get health insurance, gambling that they won't get sick and boosting premiums for others
5:22PM ( 8 hours ago )
US stocks decline for a second straight day; oil falls
Technology companies led U.S. stocks lower Wednesday, giving the market its biggest loss since early September
5:04PM ( 8 hours ago )
The Latest: Goodall asks Senate to reject Arctic drilling
Primatologist Jane Goodall is urging the Senate to keep oil and gas drilling out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
4:45PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Germany's Merkel dodges coal deadline at climate talks
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a veteran of global efforts to curb climate change, disappointed environmental campaigners Wednesday by refusing to lay down a deadline for ending her country's use of coal
11:50AM ( 13 hours ago )
The Latest: Merkel: coal phaseout will be in coalition talks
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the issue of when and how to phase out her country's use of coal will be a key issue in talks on forming a new government, but hasn't said whether she backs a firm deadline
10:52AM ( 14 hours ago )
The Latest: Macron says Europe should make up climate money
French President Emmanuel Macron says Europe should make up the shortfall in funding for the U.N.'s scientific expert panel on climate change left by the U.S. decision to hold back its contribution
10:46AM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Leonardo da Vinci's Christ painting sells for record $450M
Rare painting by Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci of Christ holding crystal orb, 'Savior of the World,' sells for record $450 million at auction, topping previous record of $300 million for Willem de Kooning's painting 'Interchange'
1:37AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Feud grows between NFL, Cowboys' Jerry Jones over Goodell
The Associated Press has obtained a letter by the NFL sent to Jerry Jones' attorney accusing the Dallas Cowboys owner of "conduct detrimental to the league's best interests" over his objection to a contract extension for Commissioner Roger Goodell
1:22AM ( 24 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump says US, China agree on NKorea nukes
President Donald Trump says the U.S. and China agree that North Korea cannot just freeze its nuclear weapons program in exchange for concessions and that it must eliminate its arsenal
1:13AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Newly discovered Chandler story chastises medical industry
A newly discovered Raymond Chandler story has everything from an indictment of the medical industry to some mysterious scribble
1:03AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Silence from Trump as Moore-Alabama storm grows louder
President Donald Trump kept resolutely quiet and out of the fight Wednesday as national Republicans called ever more intensely for Roy Moore to abandon his Alabama campaign for the U.S. Senate
12:51AM ( 55 minutes ago )