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Wednesday's the day to save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

It looks like the only way to stop Senator Ted Stevens's backdoor sneak attack on the Refuge is through a filibuster by Senate Democrats and a few allied Republicans who care about the environment.

The prospect of a close vote has so scared the White House that NPR and the New York Times are reporting that Dick "Dick" Cheney is cutting short his trip to Pakistan and returning to Washington tonight. His vote would break a tie in the Senate on procedural votes leading up to a filibuster vote.

Please look at the Alert from the Alaska Wilderness League after the flip, and use the links to call your Senator.


Senator Stevens Threatens Defense Spending Bill Over Arctic Drilling!!

Unable to pass his Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling plan in any other way, Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) is now holding the Defense spending bill hostage in order to force his controversial drilling legislation through Congress.  "We've agreed to put [Arctic drilling] on [the Defense bill] so we'll just have to wait and see what's going to happen," Stevens told reporters last week.  

The vote is expected as early as 10am, on Wednesday, December 21!  
As disingenuous as it was to consider Arctic drilling in budget reconciliation, it would be indefensible to force a delay in passage of funding for our troops on the ground in Iraq .  In addition, the Defense Appropriations bill has other important provisions that should not be held up by a desperate scheme to force controversial Arctic Refuge drilling.  

This Arctic drilling proposal has no business in the Defense Appropriations bill.  It is a cynical, politically-motivated scheme to hijack important national policy priorities for the sake of a narrow, special-interest agendas that has otherwise failed to pass muster in this Congress.  
It would be a national disgrace to consider forever spoiling this national treasure while our nation remains at war, especially in the context of legislation that is supposed to support our men and women in uniform.

This is an all hands on deck alert! If you haven't called your Senator yet, please do so now!  We need EVERYONE who receives this email to call your Senator if you haven't yet and express your strongest outrage and opposition to what Senator Stevens is trying to do. We are so close to winning this year, and Senator Stevens is getting desperate, but Stevens' threat has a very real chance of succeeding unless we all take action to stop it.


Tell them to filibuster (block) any legislation that would allow drilling in America's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

To call your Senators, click here:

To send emails:

Also, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is leading the efforts against Stevens' power grab - she has a petition on her website against the drilling proposal.  Please go to her site and sign the petition: to show her that we are fully behind her great efforts!Text to go inside the quote box

Please Contact Your Senator NOW!

Originally posted to willyr on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 04:53 PM PST.


How Will Your Senators Vote on An Arctic Refuge Filibuster?

42%42 votes
19%19 votes
34%34 votes
4%4 votes

| 99 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Do you KNOW how your Senators will vote? (4.00)
    Please vote in the poll.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 04:55:24 PM PST

  •  Must recommend. (4.00)

    He that chooses his own path needs no map. Queen Kristina of Sweden.

    by Boppy on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 04:55:31 PM PST

  •  Allen and Warner. (4.00)
    I have no hope of intelligent representation, really.
  •  Sarbanes and Mikulski (4.00)
    Both should support the filibuster.
  •  Dole and Burr (4.00)
    Not a chance here.
  •  Need a better understanding of something (3.66)
    The president of the Senate's role is to break ties.

    A filibuster needs a supermajority of 60 votes.  Cheney can't break a filibuster.

    •  Yes. You are Right--but (4.00)
      Cheney can break a tie on a procedural vote that may be needed to even get to the filibuster question.

      The White House wants him there just in case.

      Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

      by willyr on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:04:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh Christ in his chariot,,, do not let this be (4.00)
        Cheney's One Freaking Act Play.  If there is a God in heaven, he will see through this bull and keep Cheney from being the final vote on an issue that should not be this divisive in the first place.

        Stevens and Cheney, how sick and how sad for America.  I know Bill Nelson of Florida does not support the issue and stands firm on fighting against it, Thank God.

        I am not your beast of burden: I will not be forced to carry your baggage.....Humanistic Property Manifesto (-5.13, -4.77)

        by panicbean on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:02:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Drilling the Refuge has been Cheney's baby (none)
          from Day One.

          Apart from the Utterly Rabid Stevens, and maybe Don "My Way, The Highway" Young, there is no one who wants to get those rigs up there faster.

          Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

          by willyr on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:08:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Cheney's ticket not for ANWR (none)
        I believe that Cheney was brought back early not for the vote on the Military Appropriations bill (w/ ANWAR) which is to occur tomorrow, but for the budget reconciliation bill.  Since it is protected from filibusters under budget rules, it can't be stopped that way, but it is not clear if it will gain 51 votes on an up-or-down vote since many moderate Republicans are unhappy with the cuts in social programs (child care, student loans, Medicaid) it contains.  Cheney's on call for that one.
  •  Kagro could weigh in on this... (4.00)
    ...but how likely is it that Dick is going to be there to preside over a stealth-attack nuclear option battle.

    Basically it's the same idea as judicial filibusters, except that someone (Frist) will make the point of order that it's unconstitutional to filibuster a Defense appropriations bill in a time of war, because it prevents the President from fulfilling his constitutional mandate as C-in-C.  The chair will rule that a filibuster is out of order, there will be an appeal subject to a majority vote, and Dick may cast the tie vote.

    Crazy, I know, but at this point, I wouldn't put it past them.

    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

    by viget on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:01:56 PM PST

  •  You need a fifth choice (none)
    _ I live in DC.  I have no senatorial representation.
  •  Remember (4.00)
    that Cantwell's amendment failed 48-51, with Corzine absent, and Landrieu and the two Hawaiians voting against the amendment.

    Corzine will be present, so I assume the Dems have a minimum of 49 votes. The two Hawaiian Senators are probably a lost cause, due to their Alaskan pact. But Landrieu, and a couple of the moderate Republicans might be brought on board.

    How many of these 49+ are willing to filibuster, it remains to be seen.

    -4.88, -7.64 | Hey Congress, keep your hands off my A-Hole!

    by peacemonger on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:02:21 PM PST

    •  Word is that Reid is lining up all the Dems (4.00)
      but Landrieu is probably the shakiest. Stevens is trying to buy her off with money for New Orleans.

      Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

      by willyr on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:09:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unbelievably... (4.00)
        ...I've read we can count on Landrieu, since Katrina funds are not predicated in this vote...

        The thing with politicians is I wouldn't have suspicions if I saw their worst positions and their ugly underneath...

        by mstarr77 on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:12:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sold my soul to the company store (4.00)
        The disaster relief money is funded by revenues from ANWR.  The immediate money was characterized by Stevens today as an "advance".

        Louisianans need to tell Landrieu the money should not be contingent.  So they get an advance, what happens if the revenue doesn't materialize the way that was projected?  Does Louisiana have to pay it back? Have it taken out of other funds?  Have it dry up after the first few advances?  

        Support the troops (for real)! write to any soldier

        by sberel on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:14:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's a bribe, pure and simple. (3.66)
          Buying votes.

          The Arctic Refuge belongs to ALL Americans, and is not for sale.

          Congress can easily pass a separate bill giving Louisiana (and Mississippi and Alabama) all the money they need for hurricane relief. And they should.

          But not in this bill, and not at the cost of a National Wildlife Refuge.

          Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

          by willyr on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:21:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Bait-and-switch - no actual funding likely... (4.00)
          ...from this source.  I heard a Senator on the floor today talk about this, a male whose name I didn't get 'cuz I was listening to C-SPAN2 from the next room.  Here's the story:

          ANWR royalties, split 50-50 with the state of Alaska in this case.  The non-Alaska 50 percent to go for Katrina relief.  (And for LIHEAP = Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program, something like that.)

          But here's the rub:  Alaska Statehood Bill guaranteed the state 90% of royalties from all oil produced in the state.  (In the other 49 states, royalties for gas & oil are split 50-50 between the feds and the state.  Alaska is a special, exceptional case.)

          This bill makes an exception to that, but allows the state to "object" and thereby cancel the deal - keeping 90% of royalties for the state as per usual.  The state has already indicated that it will do exactly so.

          So, in other words, all this talk of funding for Katrina and LIHEAP is bogus.  The promised funds are not going to materialize.  It's empty talk.

          I can understand Stevens, and other right-wing types going along with this.  But what's the deal with Landrieu?  Why is she arguing for it if her state - which certainly needs & deserves relief funding - won't actually get funded from this bill?  Why is she going along with the charade?  Has no one in her office read the bill?  Hasn't anyone talked to her staff about this?  It's understandable that she's putting relief first.  But if I understand correctly, this isn't the way to do it.

          Also:  did anyone else catch that Senator's name on C-SPAN today?  I'd very much like to know his name.

          •  Remember Landrieu is from an oil state (none)
            so she has lots of backers in the oil industry.

            Funny thing is, lots of the oil companies who used to be hot to drill the Refuge have backed off in the last few years. It's really only politicos like Stevens who wants it so bad. It's money in the pocket for Alaskans (though many don't want to drill the Refuge either.)

            And of course it would be another ...uh..legacy..for Stevens. He's already got the damned Anchorage Airport named after him, and he isn't even dead yet!

            Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

            by willyr on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:16:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  dick durbin was the speaker (4.00)
            i heard him too. i didn't know about the 'bribing' by stevens to get votes.... and i also didn't know alaska's governor can stop the 50/50 steven's promise and make it 90/10.

            since it was durbin speaking about it, i'm guessing every Democratic senator will be reminded. maybe a few Republicans too.

            how slimy. what a horrible slimy little man Stevens is.

            The person who says it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it. --Chinese proverb

            by isis2 on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:01:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for filling in the name (none)
              He spoke very eloquently about it, an aspect I'd been previously unaware of.  And quite germaine to the issue at hand.  I don't get why Landrieu is ignoring this; her state - desperately in need of aid - is the one to be screwed royally by this bait & switch.

              Glad for the name, as I'm working on a piece for EPluribusMedia on this at this very momeent.

              Thanks again.

            •  Stevens, lying SOB (none)
              He was on this morning (I heard the rebroadcast last night).  He denied bribing anyone.  He went on and on about supporting hurricane relief and the low income heating program, because it was the right thing to do.  He must know the governor can rescind the royalty split, but he said nothing about.  It's incredible.

              John McCain's statement on the conference report is up.  He's got a list of the er, earmarks, that you may find useful for your piece.  Alaska does seem to be the beneficiary of a number of bequests as well.

              Support the troops (for real)! write to any soldier

              by sberel on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:38:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Forgive me for posting this again (4.00)
    but since it's relevant, here is the list of senators that the National Wildlife Refuge Association said were being pressured to not support a filibuster:

    Gordon Smith (R-OR) 202.224.3753
    Norm Coleman (R-MN) 202-224-5641
    Mike DeWine (R-OH) 202-224-2315
    John McCain (R-AZ) 202-224-2235
    Olympia Snowe (R-ME) 202-224-5344
    Susan Collins (R-ME) 202-224-2523
    Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 202-224-5972
    John Warner (R-VA) 202-224-2023
    Chuck Hagel (R-NE) 202-224-4224
    George Voinovich (R-OH) 202-224-3353
    Ben Nelson (D-NE) 202-224-6551
    Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) 202-224-4822
    Kent Conrad (D-ND) 202-224-2043
    Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) 202-224-5521

    •  You can't post it enough. (4.00)
    •  Coleman supposedly is leaning toward supporting (4.00)
      a filibuster.

      Minnesotans should be sure to contact him.

      Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

      by willyr on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:11:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I faxed him... (none)
        I faxed him.  Well, his offices, anyway.

        At least we have Dayton... :/

      •  I like this editorial... (none)
        from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  Perhaps worth the effort to contact Coleman:

        Editorial: Holding hostages for Arctic oil:

        Tying ANWR to troop funding is a deal the Senate must refuse.

        Jim Ramstad tends toward moderation in his comments, as well as in his politics, and so it is worth taking note when this Minnesota Republican spotlights "the most outrageous abuse of power I've seen in my 15 years as a member of Congress."

        In a spectacular display of reckless, end-of-session thuggery, Ramstad's GOP colleagues have taken language that would allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and handcuffed it to funding for U.S. troops in Iraq.

        As usual, the chief perpetrator is Sen. Ted Stevens, the Alaska Republican who has made a minor art of inserting ANWR provisions into critical, high-stakes legislation where they don't belong. Earlier this year, Stevens and his allies thought their best shot was to stick ANWR drilling into a budget bill, which the rules protect from filibuster. When that strategy foundered, they moved it to the defense appropriations bill, which passed the House early Monday and will likely come before the Senate today, with pressure to adjourn for the holidays growing by the hour.


        Minnesota's Norm Coleman says he'll vote to remove the drilling language; if that fails, he won't support a filibuster and isn't sure about the overall bill. Expressing well-founded pique, he said, "I'm angry at the way this has been handled, that we're forced to revisit this issue again and again."

        I contacted both my Senators.  Though with Domenici, I mainly argued that it was a bad precedent to muddy the waters by attaching unrelated items to Defense.  Not likely to make a difference, but still something he might consider.

        I don't actually know where Bingaman is on this one.  Hopefully, he won't buck the leadership which plans to fight.

    •  One of the most helpful things dKos offers me (4.00)
      is numbers to call and the issues that are up for votes soon.  I can always count on diaries to give me the info and I greatly appreciate it.
    •  I called Nelson & Hagel (4.00)
      ... but I'm used to that being fruitless.
      •  Nelson is a Dem and might go with the party (none)
        on this one. After all, he was one of the ones who wanted to preserve the filibuster rule. Now is a great time to USE it!

        Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

        by willyr on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:54:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Domenici and Bingaman (4.00)
    The former is hopeless, the latter better be filibustering.  I've pestered, e-mailed and will call again tomorrow morning.
  •  A must recommend diary. (4.00)
    •  yes, rec it up (4.00)
      This is not just about the Arctic Wilderness, it's also about opening the door to oil drilling anywhere they damn well please.  Not to mention holding troops and Katrina victims hostage.  If SC nominees are supposed to get an up or down vote, the same should hold for trashing wilderness areas.  Only the thing is, the envirotrashers already know arctic drilling wouldn't pass the senate on it's own (de)merit...  
  •  Stevens can play his political games. (4.00)
    We are fighting back!
  •  love that name (4.00)
     Dick "Dick" Cheney
  •  I am new aand can't recommend but (4.00)
    I hope others do!
  •  I'm kinda screwed - TX12! (4.00)
    I've got Kay Granger, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Cornyn.  Bleah.

    Sit at the feet of the master long enough and they start to smell. - John Sauget
    -8.00, -6.05

    by Jensequitur on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:34:27 PM PST

  •  Tell those dudes from Hawaii (4.00)
    that Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski are not worth making deals with the devil for.  Next they'll be wanting to build a Bridge to Nowhere between Alaska and Honolulu.

    Visit and follow every 2006 Senate race.

    by AnthonySF on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:35:15 PM PST

  •  Bond and Talent (none)
    I'm not holding out any hope

    "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

    by RBH on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:37:14 PM PST

  •  Important diary. Shocked it hasn't (none)
    made the Recommended list yet.
  •  My Senators are NO. (4.00)
    Overall grade:
    Boxer:  A
    Feinstein:  B-

    Visit and follow every 2006 Senate race.

    by AnthonySF on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:42:21 PM PST

    •  You mean NO on oil drilling (none)
      and YES on filibuster.

      (I know that. Some don't)

      Dianne could use a little of the leadership skills that her colleague BBoxer has.

      Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

      by willyr on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:46:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Florida (4.00)
    Bill Nelson - D

    Mel Martinez - R

    Nelson opposes drilling off the Florida coast, so that might influence him.

    Martinez is a former Bush cabinet member. I've pretty much written him off (along with Rep. Harris).

    Emails were sent to both Nelson and Martinez, though. Here's hoping for a miracle.

    Bush - the ultimate example of the Peter Principle.

    by PatsBard on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:50:01 PM PST

  •  Bad Math (none)
    20 people have said that both of their senators support the filibuster, which means we have our 40 necessary senators! Hooray for the filibuster!

    -4.88, -7.64 | Hey Congress, keep your hands off my A-Hole!

    by peacemonger on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:54:23 PM PST

  •  Drug company immunity also in DoD Appropriations? (4.00)
    I received the following from one of Colorado's rising political stars (State Rep. Morgan Carroll) today:

    In the middle of the night, the Senate attached sweeping, never-before-seen immunity for drug companies into the Department of Defense Appropriations Conference Report. The language constitutes an unprecedented wish-list of liability protections that will allow the
    industry to recklessly injure or kill Americans with contaminated drugs and vaccines and never be held accountable. This language offers more special interest immunity than any bill ever considered by either body of the Congress.

    • Immunity for ALL Drugs and Vaccines
    • Immunity at ANY Time, not just for an actual pandemic, for example
    • Immunity for Harm Caused by a Manufacturer's Bad Conduct
    • Immunity for Anything but Assault or Murder: explicit protection for drug companies who act recklessly or who are grossly negligent, with a claim allowed only where a drug company acted with such willful misconduct as to constitute criminal assault or murder. Anything less than criminal conduct is protected.
    • Immunity for Murder unless the Secretary or the Attorney General Say Otherwise: even if a drug company has acted with "willful misconduct" as defined by this language, the drug company is still immune from accountability unless the Secretary or the Attorney General initiates an enforcement action against the drug company and that action is pending at the time a claim is filed or the action resulted in some form of punishment. So even if a drug company knowingly kills thousands of people, if no official enforcement action is taken, that company is still immune.
    • Impossible standard of proof  (clear & convincing evidence of willful misconduct)
    • Severe restrictions on claiming: not in state courts, proof by medical records (not just examinations, etc.)
    • Provisions of the "Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act" never considered by the US Senate to amend federal Rules of Civil Procedure without following rule-making processes.
    • Compensation fund that's a bureaucratic nightmare

    This is even worse that the original bird flu immunity proposed that Coloradans have already heard about.  See below for details of what Coloradans learned about an earlier, and less onerous, version of this proposal.  IF your local radio station carried a story on this, please remind Senator Salazar that your community already knows how unfair this legislation is.  It strips protections from Coloradans while giving them to international drug manufacturers who may have no presence in Colorado.

    Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

    by Phoenix Rising on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:32:27 PM PST

  •  Class action suit filed against (none)

    Bush is NOT America!

    by annefrank on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:58:35 PM PST

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