Republicans Dismiss Daschle 'Proposal' on ANWR

By Jason Pierce | July 7, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT

( - Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) Friday introduced what he calls a "compromise proposal" to help end the legislative stalemate over whether to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling.

Daschle suggested that instead of drilling in the ANWR, a new natural gas pipeline be built running south from Alaska's North Slope. According to Daschle, the pipeline could be completed within six years, providing 400,000 new jobs.

It could be "one of the fastest ways that we could produce energy from Alaska," Daschle said, and would pose no danger to the environment.

Republicans, however, dismissed Daschle's plan.

Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska), ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee said, "An Alaskan natural gas pipeline isn't going to do anything to help reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil."

Murkowski added, "Senator Daschle needs to understand the difference between oil and gas."

Daschle earlier this week suspended action on the Senate's energy bill because, according to Republicans, it included ANWR drilling and was headed for committee passage.

Daschle later announced he would bypass the committee and bring the energy bill before the full Senate, but not before completing work on appropriations bills and legislation dealing with terrorism.