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McConnell Revives ANWR

On the same day that Senate Democrats plan to unveil their blueprint to curb record gas prices, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) offered his own plan on behalf of Republicans as an amendment to the flood insurance bill.

Echoing President Bush’s suggestion, McConnell’s amendment would open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for oil exploration. He said that domestic oil drilling would help expand supply, which has become increasingly scarce.

Democrats have staunchly opposed oil exploration in ANWR, arguing that there would be too many environmental consequences and questioning whether there is enough oil in ANWR to begin with.

In the 1990s, Republicans attached language to the federal budget for oil exploration in ANWR, but President Bill Clinton vetoed the measure.

It is again unlikely that the oil exploration amendment will succeed. Democrats plan to offer their own plan later today, which does not include domestic oil drilling or a “gas tax holiday,” as some presidential candidates have advocated.

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