Sen. Stevens' crude attack on Puget Sound
Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is having a hissy fit, trying to take his frustrations out on Puget Sound. Stevens, R-BridgetoNowhere, is upset...
Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is having a hissy fit, trying to take his frustrations out on Puget Sound.
Stevens, R-BridgetoNowhere, is upset the House of Representatives balked at opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil leasing and drilling, and Senate Republicans are flinching as well.
Stevens' ire is directed in particular at Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, who introduced an amendment as part of a budget reconciliation bill, the current turf for ANWR battles. Her amendment lost, but Stevens was incensed. Stevens immediately sought to lift restrictions on BP's Cherry Point refinery near Bellingham, which would increase production capacity and expand tanker traffic in Puget Sound. Both were capped in 1977 by Sen. Warren Magnuson with a tweaking of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Magnuson identified the navigable waters of Puget Sound as a national asset threatened by increased domestic and international tanker traffic, adding that the waters and surrounding natural resources needed protection. The foresight of his actions was affirmed a dozen years later by the example of the Exxon Valdez travesty in Alaska's Prince William Sound.
Cantwell responded in the honorable tradition of Northwest legislators defending — protecting — things unique to the region, from its natural and visual resources to the Bonneville Power Administration and the region's hydroelectric resources.
Stevens is in full reprisal mode, and he essentially is declaring "game on" with Senate Bill 1977, which just so happens to be the year the Magnuson Act was passed.
House and Senate Republican leadership are surprised at the resistance to ANWR drilling and business as usual on the budget among their own party. Cantwell has parliamentary allies in the GOP who, combined with a unified Democratic Party, can push back on Stevens' slap at Puget Sound.
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