Thursday, May 25, 2006

The House Gets It. Will The Senate?

The House has voted once again to open ANWR for drilling:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Citing the public outcry over $3-a-gallon gasoline and America's heavy reliance on foreign oil, the House on Thursday voted to open an Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling, knowing the prospects for Senate approval were slim.

Drilling proponents argued that the refuge on Alaska's North Slope would provide 1 million barrels a day of additional domestic oil at peak production and reduce the need for imports...

The House voted 225-201 to direct the Interior Department to open oil leases on the coastal strip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - an area of 1.5 million acres that is thought likely to hold about 11 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

But the action may be little more than symbolic. Arctic refuge development, while approved by the House five times, repeatedly has been blocked in the Senate where drilling proponents have been unable to muster the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.

There's always a chance that the Republican majority will finally start acting like a majority. I'm hesitant to call the House's move for ANWR drilling a success, however, because of the Senate's poor track record on the issue. Nonetheless, we have some reason to be encouraged with the Senate's recent passage of the Immigration bill, and what looks like a cloture vote on DC Circuit nominee Brett Kavanaugh, giving him a chance at the up or down vote he deserves.