Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 108th Congress [Updated January 13, 2004] [open pdf - 100KB]
"One major element of the energy debate in the 108th Congress is whether to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in northeastern Alaska, and if so, under what conditions, or whether to continue to prohibit development to protect the area's biological resources. The Refuge is an area rich in fauna, flora, and commercial oil potential. Sharp increases in prices of gasoline and natural gas from late 2000 to early 2001, followed by terrorist attacks, and further increases in 2003, have renewed the ANWR debate for the first time in 7 years; however, its development has been debated for over 40 years. Few U.S. locations onshore stir as much industry interest as the northern area of ANWR. Current law forbids energy leasing in the Refuge. The first key vote in the 108th Congress came in the Senate. On March 19, the Senate passed an amendment by Senator Boxer to strip language from the Senate Budget Resolution that would have facilitated subsequent passage of ANWR development legislation. The second group of votes came April 10 in the House on the way to passage of a comprehensive energy bill (H.R. 6). The House adopted an amendment by Representative Wilson (NM) to limit certain features of federal leasing development to no more than 2,000 acres. It rejected an amendment by Representative Markey to delete ANWR development from the bill. The Senate passed its version of H.R. 6 by adopting the provisions of the Senate's version of omnibus energy legislation from the 107th Congress. The Senate version contained no provision to open the Refuge to development. The conference committee did not include ANWR development in the conference report. Many observers feel that passage of ANWR development legislation in the remainder of the 108th Congress is now unlikely. If Congress does not act, the status quo, which prohibits development unless Congress acts, will continue."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB10111
U.S. Department of State: http://fpc.state.gov/