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Intro: "The Senate on Tuesday resoundingly rejected a sweeping measure to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other protected areas to oil drilling, as well as to approve construction of the Keystone pipeline project."

Alaska whale breach. Animals that live in Alaska's Arctic region must be able to survive long winters and very cold temperatures. (photo: Save Arctic Wildlife Blog)
Alaska whale breach. Animals that live in Alaska's Arctic region must be able to survive long winters and very cold temperatures. (photo: Save Arctic Wildlife Blog)

Senate Rejects Arctic Drilling and Keystone Pipeline

By Sean Cockerham, McClatchy Newspapers

14 March 12


he Senate on Tuesday resoundingly rejected a sweeping measure to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other protected areas to oil drilling, as well as to approve construction of the Keystone pipeline project.

Tuesday's vote was the first time in four years that the Senate has voted on a measure including ANWR drilling, and it failed miserably. The proposal needed 60 votes to pass; it only received 41 votes in favor, with 57 senators against.

Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts pushed the measure as an amendment to the bill that funds transportation projects across the nation. His amendment, in part a Republican jab at President Barack Obama during a time of high gasoline prices, was packed with so many controversial items that it was bound to fail in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Still, Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich broke with others in his party and voted for the amendment, saying he did it to back ANWR drilling.

But Begich complained the measure was "junked" full of other provisions and was put forward to score political points.

"If we want to get serious about an energy plan that includes ANWR and other Alaska oil and gas resources, let's get to it," Begich said. "But an amendment to an important transportation bill that is put forward simply to divide the body is not a good way to conduct public policy."

Two other Democrats, Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, also voted yes. All but seven Republicans - Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Mike Lee of Utah and Scott Brown of Massachusetts - voted in favor of the amendment.

The 78-page amendment was similar to legislation passed by the Republican-controlled House last month. It would require the Interior Department to lease huge areas in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to drilling as well as approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf of Mexico.

Adrian Herrera, who is paid by the state of Alaska to lobby Congress to open ANWR, has called the proposal a "Hail Mary" measure that included lots of things for senators to find fault with.

There was less than 10 minutes of debate on the measure. Roberts said the measure would address the "number one issue facing every American of all walks of life ... which is the rising cost of gasoline."

Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow spoke against the measure. "It includes dangerous requirements for drilling in the Arctic and offshore locations without any safeguards," she said. your social media marketing partner


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+37 # riverhouse 2012-03-14 10:26
There was a time in the life of America when we looked forward to the future with new ideas and with goals to better our nation and sustain its future. What happened? It's good that ANWR was protected and the Keystone nonsense defeated, but it remains worrisome that so many in Congress have retrograde notions of fossil fuels and neanderthal mindsets. What happened to our eagerness to take on new frontiers and new challenges? Now we seem mired in who is entitled to control women's reproduction and what country to bomb for some sullied advantage. What happened to America?
+5 # James38 2012-03-14 12:24
Since the future of America and the whole world depends on stopping the burning of Coal, oil, and natural gas, this success is very important. We must bring Climate Change under control or vast disasters will occur. All efforts to continue developing new sources of "fossil Fuels" are suicidal.

While all non-polluting energy sources are vital, the most important project we must press for "to better our nation and sustain its future" is the building of Generation 4 Nuclear Reactors. The research to develop that technology was started under Nixon, and was cancelled by Clinton. (It would be great if he would come forward and recommend that project be started again.) Generation 4 reactors are extremely safe, and can use the stockpiles of Nuclear "Waste" as fuel, giving the USA power for a thousand years and solving the storage problem.

Generation 4 reactors are the quickest way to produce base-load power to replace all existing and planned new coal burning plants. Coal is the worst pollutant in use, but the Tar Sand Oil promises to be as bad if not worse. Also, natural gas from fracking, far from being a "clean" energy source as touted by the lies from the industry, is proving to be as polluting as coal, once methane released into the atmosphere is included in the environmental cost.

+1 # James38 2012-03-14 12:26

There are two excellent books that give much needed information. "Storms of My Grandchildren" by Dr James E Hansen, eminent climate scientist with NASA, covers the Science of Climate Change brilliantly, and describes the Gen 4 reactor's benefits. Also, read "Power To Save The World" by Gwyneth Cravens. (Currently out of print, used copies easily available on line.)
+13 # xflowers 2012-03-14 13:34
I've been thinking about this too, particularly because I've heard people on both sides of the political spectrum ask the same question, "What happened to America's progressive can do nature?" I've concluded that years of mindless wedge issue campaigns has so divided us into faction pitted against faction that we can no longer act in our national self-interest. We seem instead headed down the road of self-destructio n like dinosaurs walking blindly off a cliff. They had little brains; we have big ones. The only hope is if we can convince people to start using them. A tough job in this atmosphere.
+2 # X Dane 2012-03-14 21:55
Crazy republicans happened, riverhouse
+27 # Patriot 2012-03-14 10:34
Could a miracle be happening? Could "Mince" McConnell be losing his grip on his fellow Senatorial Republicans? Could they be as tired of his assinine policy of destruction as their constituants are? Could they finally have found enough backbone to do the right thing? Maybe they're still capable of thinking for themselves. Maybe they're just tired of being pushed around, threatened, and bullied.

Wonders never cease! (But don't top paraying, and signing petitions, and writing your congressmen and senators.)

N.B. Alas, poor me, I have no representation in the Senate: McConnell and Paul are Kentucky's two disgraceful senators. I live in Kentucky.
+7 # James38 2012-03-14 11:11
Good Comment, Patriot, Especially since you mention "top paraying". I have been doing that for years and this is the first time anyone else has ever mentioned it. (er, could you tell me what I have actually been doing?)

Sorry about your lack of representation, but keep up the good work. The worst abuse of representation is the Electoral college, and that mess removes all expats from the presidential vote, as well as all US citizens living in territories. Second class citizens, all. Millions of us.

Then we have the gerrymandering process designed to disenfranchise more voters. No sense of fairness there either.
+12 # Nell H 2012-03-14 10:52
The cost of gas is primarily game-playing by the people who have money to invest and don't know where else to put it. It is also a result of uncertainty about Iran. If we (or anyone else) attacks Iran, it will have a huge impact on the amount of oil available and gasoline prices will go higher than we have ever paid in the US.
+24 # Vardoz 2012-03-14 10:56
Corporations willingness to ravage our precious planet is a suicide agenda for us and all the livng things. Without responsible government they will go forward full throttle.
+20 # jwb110 2012-03-14 11:27
The Head of Exxon said that 40% of the cost of a gallon of gas was the result of commodity traders. The fix is simple without Keystone or Arctic drilling. The real deal about all of this is that this drilling, contrary to what the GOP/Oil would have you believe, is that none of this oil would be sold exclusively to the US. It would be sold overseas and not change the cost of a gallon of gas by a single cent.
-25 # Robt Eagle 2012-03-14 12:07
jwb110, evidentally you have no knowledge of supply and demand. Although it will take some time to get things out of the ground once approved, the cost will certainly decrease just by the sheer fact that there will eventually be more supply. While that is NOT happening the cost of everything will continue to rise because the cost of oil is going up because Obama and the Democrats are stuck on failing green mumbo jumbo voodoo. Solyndra was just the begining. There are many government sponsored green debacles under Obama's administration that are failing and continuing to fail as they are not economically feasable.
+11 # James38 2012-03-14 14:39
Wrong, Eagle, the large preponderance of government sponsored energy projects are successful. The losses from Solyndra have been more than made up by the successes. Your agenda of denigrating the Democrats is preventing you from considering the necessity of doing some actual research before producing your propaganda. You obviously don't care about being accurate, you just want to toot your horn.
+16 # Billy Bob 2012-03-14 11:33
This is proof positive that even though the difference between Democrats and repugs isn't big enough, THERE'S STILL A DIFFERENCE - and it DOES make a difference who you vote for in the two-party system.
+18 # Digidem 2012-03-14 12:04
How many of us believe that the Koch Brothers and their ilk are monkeying around with the cost of oil to increase the price of gasoline in the months before the election? And how about the media immediately linking it to President Obama's re-election? When I go to the gas pump, personally, I'm thinking about the Petroleum and Gas industry. Just how DUMB do they think we ALL are?
+6 # Patriot 2012-03-14 14:44
James38, I realy do need a new keybord. My keys stick, and I don't always take sufficient time to check what I've written. That should have been don't "stop praying".

Gerrymandering has been a sore point for more than a century, but voters never rise up in wrath at the fact that the carving up is always skewed by both parties for their own ends. Why aren't registered voters *who have voted* the ones to make those decisions?

Funny you should mention the Electoral College. (By the way, the Electoral College disenfrancheses *every* voter, including members of the armed forces who vote by absentee ballot, who, of all of us, have most *earned* the right to have their votes counted.) Why hasn't it been abolished? I don't think that most of the people who actually show up to vote like the idea of being second-guessed by a bunch of electors whose names never even appear on the ballot, altho, in fact, *they* are who we vote for, not the candidates, themselves.

Anybody care to speculate on what will happen if this year's election winds up in the House of Representatives ?
0 # X Dane 2012-03-14 22:32
+3 # Bodiotoo 2012-03-14 16:49
We should be moving on with new ve whatever resources we have in the Americas for the future, for when the rest of the world has run out of oil...lets get on the cutting adge and lead the parade.
+1 # X Dane 2012-03-14 22:44
That's the big idea Bodiotoo. We sure need to get in high gear. China is already ahead of us, but we should be able to catch up if we really put our mind to it. And we have many people who need the work.
+2 # ABen 2012-03-15 15:19
Anyone with a lick of sense knows that green sources of energy are the future. The U.S. has always been known for its innovation and creative problem solving. Why are we still sucking on the hind tit of Big Oil? Go as green as possible as soon as possible!
0 # X Dane 2012-03-16 00:54
ABen, since the republicans DON'T have a lick of sense, they are obstructing.....AGAIN...
They are certainly what is standing in the way of almost all improvement. We HAVE to find ways to get around them if they insist on obstructing. But bi partisan is definitely the best. We can invent in this country, and we better get moving.
+1 # Dunn 2012-03-16 09:03
Watching what the Republicans are doing today,noone need not "wonder" what's going on. One can simply read & watch from reputable sources all over the Internet whats' going on. Reap money in at any cost. Damage the planets' environment. Destroy American peoples' lives. Get morally corrupt,hateful Americans to follow us. Lie outright and be corrupt in what ever business you do in order to rake in more money...wring your hands gleefully in greed. ATLAS SHRUGGED!! ATLAS SHRUGGED!! We have it in writing that this is all good for us to be doing!! Atlas shrugged! Atlas shrugged! Paul Ryan! Paul Ryan!
+1 # Dunn 2012-03-16 09:05
P.S. It's all almost too unbelievable to seem true, hey? But yes, its' true.

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