U.S. Senate passes FY18 budget resolution and a way forward for drilling in ANWR

By  | 

WASHINGTON D.C. (KTUU) - The U.S. Senate has passed Fiscal Year 2018 budget resolution on a vote of 51-49. The resolution instructs the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to raise $1 billion in additional revenue.

In a statement, Senator Lisa Murkowski said “tonight was just the first step, but we are now on a path that will allow us to create jobs, generate new wealth, keep energy affordable, and protect our national security.”

Meanwhile, Senator Dan Sullivan said "more American energy production means more good-paying jobs, increased economic growth, and a stronger national security."

“This resolution is another key step that we’ve recently accomplished in a decades long fight to allow Alaskans to produce energy in our state – something that Alaskans, democrats, republicans, independents, overwhelmingly support,” said Sullivan.

Meanwhile, an amendment to the budget resolution to stop the Energy Committee raising $1 billion has failed to receive enough votes. The amendment was voted down 52-48 with Murkowski and Sullivan opposing the amendment.

The amendment was part of the larger budget bill resolution and was introduced by the Democrats. The goal of the amendment was to prevent drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Murkowski and Sullivan spoke on the Senate floor Thursday to advocate for resource development in Alaska and drilling in ANWR. Murkowski spoke about the relatively small footprint drilling would have in ANWR and Sullivan said Alaska had the world's most rigorous environmental standards when it came to resource development.

Andy Moderow, the state director of the Alaska Wilderness League, spoke to Channel 2 today, arguing that Republicans were trying to sneak drilling in ANWR through the budget process.

Moderow said that the process should be open to public comment and that it should not just be an issue of "dollars and cents."