US Senate blocks Alaska refuge drilling

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

By a narrow vote late in the evening on December 21st, 2005 the US Senate blocked opening the nation's oil reserve in National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska . This vote delivers a victory to environmentalists and denies the Bush administration their top energy priority. Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) attached the drilling plan to a measure to fund ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the Senate late last night agreed to pass the defense bill, without the drilling provision.

Two key Republicans, Lincoln D Chafee (R-R.I.) and Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), joined Democrats in opposing the drilling. Senator Lieberman (D-Conn) said yesterday that Stevens was to blame for holding up money for the military. By including the drilling measure in the defense spending bill, it was hoped to twist the senators' arms into voting for both provisions together in the scramble to finish the important business before the Senate's Christmas break.

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