Cantwell hopes oil is too cheap for ANWR exploration

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.