Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is Safe

I did a little work for the Alaska Coalition, so I have been keeping my eye on the Defense Budget Bill all day today.

The day started with the Democrats and moderate Republicans whipping votes and trying to secure a 60 vote majority to ensure a filibuster.


Republican Ted Stevens of Alaska attached the measure to a $453 billion defense-spending bill that pays for U.S. troops and Top of FormSEARCH
Bottom of Form Pentagon weapons programs in the coming year. Furious Democrats threatened to block the measure with a filibuster, saying the ANWR measure has no connection to military spending and violates Senate rules.

That’s right! There are still two budget appropriation bills that have not been done for the year, which means that our troops and our medical systems are still yet to be funded. The House has gone on recess for the year and now the Senate is right behind them, and we still have not funded our war in Iraq and Afghanistan. All because of back door scheme to slip drilling (at any cost) into an unrelated bill.

No worries though. Democrats successfully rallied a bipartisan effort to reject the bill this afternoon. So Senator Stevens will simply take the rider off the budget bill to ensure our troops get the tools they need, right?

Not likely.

Stevens, who has fought since the 1980s to pry open the refuge, gave mixed signals. Initially he said he would drop ANWR from the bill if Democrats successfully filibustered it, but later said he would force the entire bill to be renegotiated. (AP)

What did the Democrat’s have to say?

"Our military is being held hostage by this issue, Arctic drilling," fumed Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader. The Nevada Democrat said the Senate could move quickly to pass the defense bill once the refuge issue was resolved.

"We all agree we want money for our troops. ... This is not about the troops," said Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), a strong critic of letting oil development disturb the refuge in northeastern Alaska.

In the end the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was saved until Senator Stevens tries again.

Keep in mind, not only was this irresponsible by Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist and the Republican majority, but it is also bad environmental policy

Because this bill was rejected by Republicans and Democrats (including Frist himself) there will be some major political fall out.

For a half-dozen Republicans who have long opposed ANWR drilling, the defense bill represented a difficult choice. Few politicians wanted to be seen rejecting a defense bill that pays the salaries of U.S. soldiers in SEARCH
Iraq. The defense bill also includes funding for Hurricane Katrina reconstruction, the potential bird flu pandemic and a program that helps poor families pay winter heating bills.

In the end, Steven’s caused all this because of hope of getting six months of oil years from now. This is such a insignificant amount of oil that it would do NOTHING to decrease the cost of gas.

Instead, fair minded Republicans and Democrats worked to protect an entire eco-system. Which has been described as calving ground for caribou and home to polar bears, musk oxen, and the annual influx of millions of migratory birds.

Today I am very proud of what the Senate was able to do.


At 7:52 AM, Blogger dksbook said...

Great post, Matt - I am jealous of the fact you can do photos (and such cool ones at that!). I wonder, each time the Dems show a little spine, if this is the tipping point; but with the vote on ANWR, I am just, simply, grateful - grateful that there will one place on earth for my grandchildren to know is still as it was on the 7th day of creation, the day that God rested. There will be one place on earth without McDonald's, carboard boxes, or condom wrappers.

Good post. BTW, your hard drive trouble is probably due to Republican computer gremlins. It has happened to me, actually.

At 7:58 AM, Blogger Matt Glazer said...

Thanks for your kind words and good points.

Most people will never go to the Arctic Refuge, but at one time REPUBLICAN's thought that conservation was so important to America's Heritage that Eisenhower and TR both created the largest conservation movements.

Eisenhower actually created the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

They did this to show people that this is Manifest Destiny. We have the Sierre Tuscan's, the Rockies, Yellowstone and the Arctic. This is America.

Not that McDonalds, and streets of Houston or New York. That is urban life.

As for the pictures, thank the Alaska Coalition and the great work they have done for the past three decades.


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