Wednesday, December 21, 2005
WASHINGTON - The Senate blocked oil drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge Wednesday, rejecting a must-pass defense spending bill where supporters positioned the quarter-century-old environmental issue to garner broader support.
Um, I know it's not cheating (a word that is not a part of a polotician's lexicon), but doesn't that seem shady? Tacking on a controversial bill to a bill that 'must' be passed? That makes it more entertaining (to me) that it didn't pass.
Stevens called the refuge’s oil vital to national security and bemoaned repeated attempts over the years by opponents using the filibuster to kill drilling proposals.
Democrats, conversely, accused Stevens of holding hostage a military spending bill that includes money to support troops in Iraq and $29 billion for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The House passed the $454 billion defense spending bill earlier this week, 308-106, with scores of lawmakers who previously opposed refuge drilling voting for the legislation.
The bill includes $29 billion for Katrina hurricane relief, $2 billion in emergency funding for low-income families pay high heating bills this winter as well as money for troops in Iraq. Stevens’ provision would funnel 80 percent of the proceeds from Arctic refuge oil lease sales to hurricane relief and 5 percent for the energy assistance program.
The legislation anticipates about $5 billion in federal revenue bonus bids from oil leases, the first of which must be issued within 22 months and the second package in 2010. Half of the lease proceeds and future royalties from oil production would go to Alaska.
If proceeds from the sales of the oil would go to hurricane relief and 5% to the energy assistance program, how will that help people devastated by Katrina or those needing monetary help this coming winter? Unless all the equipment is in place, how could profits be made quickly enough to be put the money to this proposed use? Am I missing something?
Politicians are silly.