Republicans push to drill in Alaska, limit CO2 regulation

Not yet a year after the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, Republicans are renewing efforts to drill for oil and gas in a fiercely contested Alaskan wildlife refuge.

Moving one day after President Barack Obama’s unveiled a plan to cut U.S. oil imports by a third over 10 years, Republicans will unveil a bill to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The bill would also force the Interior Department to hold lease sales for offshore areas, a Republican aide said.

The Republican bill faces an uphill battle for passage with Democrats in control of the Senate and White House, but could open a bargaining process in a Congress where energy bills have stalled since the failure of the climate change legislation effort last year.

Issues such as opening the arctic refuge and restricting EPA regulation of carbon dioxide provoke intense opposition from many Democrats.

Sponsored by around 30 lawmakers, including Senators David Vitter and Jim DeMint, the legislation would also amend the Clean Air Act so that carbon dioxide could not be regulated as a pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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