The congressional super committee searching for ways to pare at least $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit should open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas drilling instead of hiking taxes, a top House Republican said today.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., the head of the House Natural Resources Committee, said he would be making that controversial ANWR drilling recommendation to the 12-member panel, which is holding its first public meeting tomorrow.

Under Congress’ debt ceiling deal, the newly created deficit reduction committee has until Nov. 23 to approve a plan to cut $1.2 trillion or more from the deficit over the next decade, with the group’s final package subject to straight up-or-down votes in the House and Senate. If the committee fails to reach a compromise or it doesn’t pass Congress, there would be automatic, across-the-board cuts in domestic and defense spending beginning in 2013.

Since Republicans on the panel and in the House are unlikely to support any plan that hikes taxes as a way to raise revenue, the lawmakers on the joint committee need to search for other solutions, Hastings noted.

“They need to find a means to increase revenue to the federal government without raising taxes (and) this is a logical extension of that,” Hastings said. “Increasing American energy production is one of the easiest ways to generate federal revenue” and opening up ANWR “makes good economic sense.”