Reid, Pelosi ready to compromise (Drill here, drill now)
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has one the opposite direction from Reid and Pelosi – sponsoring legislation to ban drilling in the North Aleutian Basin, an area that Congress has already opened to oil leasing.
WASHINGTON – Are the Democratic leaders in Congress nervous about the growing grass-roots demand for lifting restrictions on domestic oil drilling?
Consider this: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has himself proposed a plan to open new areas for oil exploration – outraging senior members of his own caucus.
While the proposal is drawing shrieks from those Democrats occupying safe seats in the House and Senate, it shows how vulnerable congressional Democrats might be to an uprising from voters in November.
The legislation, drafted by Reid and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., would open nearly a billion new acres off the coast of Alaska to study for drilling. It would also dramatically accelerate oil leases in the western and central Gulf of Mexico.
"I am unalterably opposed to drilling,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, (D-N.J., a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, who cited a massive oil spill that closed nearly 100 miles of the Mississippi River last week.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., urged Reid to be "very careful about drilling off the coast of Alaska."