Outdoor Life Online Editor

What was once President Bush’s top energy priority, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has become an Achilles heel for the administration. Every time the energy bill comes to a vote, the oil exploration provision is struck down. And so it was again Wednesday.

The Senate sent a budget to the House after passing a version that included language for opening ANWR. If the House approves a bill without lifting drilling bans then negotiators will be appointed from each chamber to hammer out a compromise. GOP leaders would be expected to push hard for more domestic drilling.

A coalition of 25 Republican congressmen sent a letter to higher-ups within the party asking for the removal of language about ANWR.

“Rather then reversing decades of protection for this publicly held land, focusing greater attention on renewable energy sources, alternate fuels, and more efficient systems and appliances would yield more net energy savings than could come from ANWR and would have a higher benefit on the nation’s long-term economic leadership and security,” they wrote.