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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

House committee approves ANWR drilling

By a vote of 30-13 today, the House Resources Committee today approved amendments to the federal energy bill that would permit drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The committee defeated a Democrat-sponsored amendment that would have banned drilling in the refuge. The panel's bill calls for the Interior Department to lease to oil companies at least 200,000 acres in the coastal plain within two years after the legislation is signed into law. (That's right, 200 THOUSAND acres. So much for the claim that drilling will only impact 2,000 acres of the refuge.)

The committee also overwhelmingly supported the Set America Free Act, meant to increase America's energy alliances with Canada and Mexico.

The committee's markup of the energy bill still must be matched up with that of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. On Wednesday, that committee voted against requiring U.S. automakers to ratchet up fuel efficiency to a fleet average of 33 miles per gallon by 2014 from the current 27.5 mpg for passenger cars. Democrats from Michigan, loyal to carmakers, led the assault on that provision, clinging to the falacy that higher fuel efficiency standards will make cars less safe.

"It's not what Americans want," Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan said.

So, in a single day, American politicians voted to exploit one of the nation's last great wilderness areas for oil, to increase our dependence on other nations' oil, and to ensure that all the oil we can get our mitts on gets burned up as fast as possible.

"I am proud of our members who took a realistic and common-sense approach to our nation’s energy needs,” said Richard Pombo, R-Calif., chair of the Resources Committee.

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