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Monday, May 09, 2005

Murkowski's man: 'Perfect storm' for drilling

Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski's representative in D.C., John Katz, says there is a "perfect storm" of factors combining to open ANWR to oil drilling.

Interviewed by Alaska's KTUU television, Katz said that now is the best chance ever to open the refuge to drilling. Katz, director of Murkowski's D.C. office, said there are still significant hurdles because permission for ANWR drilling is contained in the federal budget bill. That bill faces trouble over a number of unrelated issues, including Medicaid funding, tax cuts and concern over the growing federal deficit.

There is also the conflict over the so-called "nuclear option," in which Democrats could shut down the Senate if Republicans try to force through the president's conservative judicial nominees.

Still, said Katz: ā€œIā€™d have to say that this is our best chance. There's a perfect storm in a sense of the world geopolitical situation, high gas prices, a growing recognition of how important domestic oil production is.ā€

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