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Photo: Chuck Kennedy / Axios

Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, who is a leader in the fight against revived GOP efforts to allow oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), said modest oil prices could deter development, but cannot replace a federal drilling ban. "I just worry that that's the security of last resort," she said when asked whether oil markets could thwart development even if restrictions are lifted. "I don't think they are going there," she added.

Why it matters: Cantwell's comments come amid questions about how much oil companies will be willing to spend money on Arctic exploration if prices remain modest and amid opportunities for lower cost production in the lower-48 states.

Cantwell, the top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, spoke ahead of a hearing this morning in her committee on ANWR drilling. She criticized the GOP proposal to raise revenues from leasing in the region, saying Republicans need money in order to "give a tax break to millionaires."

Republicans are using the budget process to enable legislation to open ANWR to drilling that's not subject to Senate filibusters. Cantwell warned against policies she said could "destroy" the refuge.

Yes, but: Oil industry officials have long maintained they can develop the coastal plain of the refuge with a minimal environmental footprint.

What's next: Cantwell refused to concede that Republicans definitely have enough votes, despite the failure of her floor amendment last month to strip provisions from the budget resolution that pave the way for drilling legislation.

  • "We have talked to some [Republicans] who voted that way who said, 'oh, I didn't really consider your amendment the final vote on that,' so we will have to see," she said of the 52-48 defeat of the amendment last month.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest.

Why it matters: The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. It's triggered widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides.

In photos: Drought-ravaged California lashed by major storm

Workers try to divert water into drains as rain pours down on Oct. 24 in Marin City, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A major storm system was pummeling Northern California and parts of the Pacific Northwest with heavy rains overnight.

The big picture: "Atmospheric river" storms, associated with a record-strong "bomb cyclone" offshore from the Pacific Northwest, have brought flooding and mudslides to parts of California that were razed by recent wildfires and in severe drought. It's also caused widespread power outages in California and Washington state.

4 hours ago - World

Sudan's military places civilian prime minister under house arrest

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were also detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

Why it matters: The arrests of the civilian faction in the Sudanese government came a day after U.S. envoy Jeffrey Feltman met with the head of the military faction of the Sudanese government General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and warned him against staging a coup.