The U.S. Senate adopted a $2.9 trillion fiscal 2007 budget resolution late in the day March 16, including a provision for oil and gas exploration and development on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Republicans won narrow 51-49 vote victories on both the overall budget resolution and an amendment introduced by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M. to fund the Energy Reserve Fund with revenues from ANWR leases.
The budget resolution sets spending and revenue levels for the FY07 federal budget and now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
ANWR opponents, led by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., bypassed an attempt to spike ANWR drilling language in favor of trying to bring down the entire budget resolution if ANWR instruction was included. The effort failed despite hope fostered earlier in the week when several Republican senators vowed to vote against drilling.
The White House included ANWR energy exploration and development in the president’s budget proposal sent to Congress in February, calling for a first lease sale in 2008 and a second in 2010. The budget proposal estimated lease sales would generate $8 billion in bonus revenues, including $7 billion from the 2008 lease sale. The revenue would be split 50-50 with the State of Alaska under a prior agreement.
Editor’s note: A full ANWR update will appear in the March 26 issue of Petroleum News, as the March 16 Senate vote took place as Petroleum News’ March 19 issue went to press.