WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- A proposal to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling will be part of the next round of conference committee negotiations on the Energy Bill.
Republican Conference Committee co-Chairman Sen. Pete Domenici said Monday including ANWR reflects its importance to the nation's energy security.
Said Domenici: "I have long said that if I can't get the 60 votes for cloture, I won't put ANWR in the final report. Between now and the hour when that decision must be made, I'll work relentlessly for those votes."
The House version of the Energy Bill included the opening of the Alaskan wilderness area while the Senate version did not. The conference committee is hammering out a final bill they hope will reach the president's desk before the end of October.
Many Washington observers fear a prolonged debate over ANWR could scuttle the entire Energy Bill.