Drill this

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Tom DeLay will be front and center in the push to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, now that the Senate has voted 51-49 yesterday in favor of the proposal. And no wonder: the Congressman has gotten $557,900 from oil and gas interests for his campaign funds since 1989 -- the top industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He also has raised more cash from these companies’ executives and Political Action Committees than 99% of his House colleagues.

It's no secret where DeLay stands on drilling in Alaska. He revealed his motives in a closed-door meeting with fellow conservatives back in 2003, reported by Roll Call, when he said that opening the refuge is a first step to drilling in other environmentally sensitive areas. “It’s about the precedent,” he told them, and, reported the paper, he “even joked that a victory on ANWR would allow the oil industry to push into other pristine areas, “except the coast of California.”

Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) -- a strong DeLay ally -- reportedly replied that drilling off California was “ok with him.”