The issue of ANWR (and McCain’s opposition to opening a small area of it to drilling) reared its head again in the Republican platform subcommittee on energy. In the subcommittee’s working draft, the last sentence of the energy section reads, “Future expansion of [the National Park] system, as well as designation of National Wildlife areas or Historic Districts, should be undertaken only with the active participation of state and local governments.” One of the delegates sought to add a sentence to the effect that “past wilderness designations that have locked up natural resources” should be reopened and reviewed.
This is an all-but-explicit reference to ANWR. One of the delegates, Idaho’s Bart Davis, voiced his doubt about the amendment, citing “the difference of opinion between this suggestion and our presumptive nominee’s position.”
Co-chairman Trey Grayson glanced at a man sitting against the wall, who nodded. “Our McCain representive is agreeing that it could pose a problem.”
That’s when Utah’s Mark Madsen, spoke up. “Clinton took all of the clean coal [development areas in Utah] and took it off-limits for development,” he said. “I think that this is more than just ANWR. I think some of these other decisions that have been made should be reviewed and revisited and in some cases reversed. So this is not just an ANWR issue for me. This is an issue that hits very close to home.”
This seemed to persuade several of the delegates, including Greyson, who looked at the McCain rep and said, “Our job is to provide general agreements that don’t hamstring the administration.” Greyson argued that this amendment wouldn’t hamstring McCain on ANWR.
The McCain rep spoke up. “I’m still trying to understand how this amendment is different from the one on the first page of the document.” (See here.)
This persuaded enough of the subcommittee to kill the amendment, which failed 6-7.