The Alaskan Wildlife Refuge gets a last-minute reprieve.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- House leaders late Wednesday abandoned an attempt to push through a hotly contested plan to open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil drilling, fearing it would jeopardize approval of a sweeping budget bill Thursday.
They also dropped from the budget document plans to allow states to authorize oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts -- regions currently under a drilling moratorium.
The actions were a stunning setback for those who have tried for years to open a coastal strip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, to oil development, and a victory for environmentalists, who have lobbied hard against the drilling provisions.
President Bush has made drilling in the Alaska refuge one of his top energy priorities.
Bush’s unpopularity is starting to drag down his right-wing political agenda, just like it drug down Republicans in yesterday’s election.