Senate Republicans introduced a bill that aims to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign crude oil imports by opening Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, among other measures.
Environmentalists, many Democrats and a few Republicans oppose the Arctic drilling proposal.
The federal government estimates that the refuge could contain between 3.2 billion and 16 billion barrels of recoverable crude.
But opponents point out that the amount of oil recovered from the region would be used by Americans in about six months.
The bill additionally calls for tax credits for electricity, coal, alternative fuels and conservation.
The proposal would give small oil and gas operators of stripper wells a $3 tax credit if crude prices fell below $13 per barrel.
Larger oil producers would pay reduced royalties if oil prices decline. Sen. Frank Murkowsky of Alaska, who also serves as chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, sponsors the measure. Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana is co-sponsor.
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