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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Maine senators targeted in budget vote

Maine's two Republican senators are said to be the target of intense lobbying efforts ahead of a vote expected this week on the Senate budget bill that includes ANWR drilling.

The Portland (Me.) Press Herald reports that both Sen. Olympia Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins are on the fence. Snowe previously voted against the preliminary budget bill, while Collins supported it. Both oppose ANWR drilling, but it's unclear if they will oppose the entire budget package as a result. Collins, for instance, is quoted as saying that she supports the budget because it includes tuition grants for college students in her state.

"I'd have to look at the budget as a whole," Collins said. "I'm going to continue my efforts to defeat drilling. It would not help our energy problems and it's one of the last unspoiled wilderness areas that we have."

Collins told the paper she is still trying to persuade Republican leaders to remove the drilling issue from the final budget.

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