Thursday, March 17, 2005

Drill this

Tom DeLay will be front and center in the push to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, now that the Senate has voted 51-49 yesterday in favor of the proposal. And no wonder: the Congressman has gotten $557,900 from oil and gas interests for his campaign funds since 1989 -- the top industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He also has raised more cash from these companies’ executives and Political Action Committees than 99% of his House colleagues.

It's no secret where DeLay stands on drilling in Alaska. He revealed his motives in a closed-door meeting with fellow conservatives back in 2003, reported by Roll Call, when he said that opening the refuge is a first step to drilling in other environmentally sensitive areas. “It’s about the precedent,” he told them, and, reported the paper, he “even joked that a victory on ANWR would allow the oil industry to push into other pristine areas, “except the coast of California.”

Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) -- a strong DeLay ally -- reportedly replied that drilling off California was “ok with him.”

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