14 May 2002 Energy Bill in Conference: Will Republicans Accept Kyoto-Like Global Warming Measure to Get ANWR Drilling Approved? by Gretchen Randall
BACKGROUND: As the House and Senate convene in conference to hammer out a final energy bill, the question arises whether the provision for oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) will be included. While the House bill allowed for oil exploration in 2000 acres of the coastal plain, the Senate bill did not. But do Republicans want ANWR badly enough to trade it for the greenhouse gas emissions reporting provision currently in the Senate version?
TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Even though opening ANWR to oil exploration is important, we should not trade this for a provision that would harm the economy.
THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: The Senate energy bill has a provision in it which is strikingly similar to the Kyoto treaty that the President recognizes would be devastating to our economy. Democrats may be willing to allow oil exploration in ANWR in order to get this regulation of emissions which would hurt our economy, cost American jobs and deprive us of many of our energy sources.
DISCUSSION: Title XI of the energy bill passed by the U.S. Senate would allow for a voluntary reporting of reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by companies. However, after five years, if the government determines that less than 60 percent of the emissions are being reported, the plan becomes mandatory. This is an attack on fossil fuels and the energy they supply. While many credible scientists still are not convinced that man-made global warming is taking place nor that carbon dioxide contributes to climate change, liberal Democrats have long wanted to limit emissions of greenhouse gases regardless of the cost to American jobs.
Therefore, Democrats may well be willing to trade the ANWR provision for the global warming one, betting that future oil exploration might be thwarted anyway because of future emissions reductions requirements.