Now this is the great thing about a slight Republican majority in the US Senate.
WASHINGTON - A closely divided Senate voted Wednesday to approve oil drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge, a major victory for President Bush (news - web sites) and a stinging defeat for environmentalists who have fought the idea for decades.At least US Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) has been up to something useful, when he’s not trying to hinder free speech and free enterprise.
By a 51-49 vote, the Senate put a refuge drilling provision in next year's budget, depriving opponents of the chance to use a filibuster to try to block it. Filibusters, which require 60 votes to overcome, have been used to defeat drilling proposals in the past.
Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who has fought for 24 years to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil companies, acknowledged it still could be "a long process" before a final drilling measure clears Congress.But, of course, with the vote being so tight, there is and still will be a lot of nay-saying.
"We won't see this oil for 10 years. It will have minimal impact," argued Sen. Maria Cantwell D-Wash. It is "foolish to say oil development and a wildlife refuge can coexist."It would have been seven years, had the bill passed in 2002. Unless we all find the keys to a Prius under our millions of Christmas trees this year (courtesy of our representatives and senators), I have to wonder what the Democrats have against planning for the future.
Cantwell and other Democrats accused Republicans of trying "an end run" by attaching the refuge provisions to the budget, saying the question of drilling in an ecologically pristine refuge — a "special place" as many environmentalists called it — should be debated as separate legislation or as part of a broad energy bill.
And, I suppose it’s peachy for drilling platforms to exist in Arab countries, Iran, Venezuela and Russia, etc., but not it Alaska. Foreigners love their land too, not to mention loving those petrodollars.
I’ll think about congress critters like Senator Cantwell the next time I spend thirty dollars to fill up my tiny, little Asian-made car.
(Thanks to Michael King)