Washington DC, U.S. - U.S. House Republican leaders have removed clauses permitting oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) from the 2006 budget plan. This decision provides yet another reprieve for the refuge and all the plants and animals (including humans) who depend on it.
The decision to scrap the drilling provisions offer temporary relief to environmentalists, the indigenous Gwich'in Nation, and their supporters who include the Episcopal Church. The Gwich'in, who number less than 10,000, still subsist on hunting caribou as they have for hundreds of years but joined the Episcopal Church after contact with missionaries in the 19th century. The right to drill for oil in ANWR has been vigorously pushed by the Bush administration, the oil industry, and powerful labor unions like the Teamsters.