GOP Members Oppose Arctic Oil in Budget - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON - Two dozen House Republicans, including three committee chairmen, have asked Speaker
Dennis Hastert not to use a congressional budget procedure to clear the way for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

They said in a letter to Hastert, R-Ill., that the budget process "is an inappropriate venue to be debating this important environmental issue" and warned that it would further complicate already difficult budget issues.

"We believe the debate on opening this unique land to oil and gas exploration should be done outside the budget process," said the group led by Rep. Jeb Bradley (news, bio, voting record), R-N.H., in an Aug. 4 letter made public Wednesday.

Among those signing the letter were three committee chairmen: Science Chairman Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y.; Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Government Reform Chairman Thomas Davis, R-Va.

The letter also was sent to Budget Committee Chairman James Nussle, R-Iowa, and Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Calif. Pombo strongly supports opening the 1.5 million acre coastal plain of the Alaska refuge to oil development.

A Pombo spokeswoman said he had not yet decided whether to include a provision authorizing oil lease sales in the Alaska refuge in a so-called budget "reconciliation" document. Under congressional rules, drilling could be authorized if the Resource Committee decides to rely on an expected $2.4 billion from potential oil lease sales in the refuge to meet budget targets.

GOP Members Oppose Arctic Oil in Budget - Yahoo! News


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