Lawmakers seek fight over Arctic drilling, oil taxes on highway bill

His amendment states that it’s the “sense of Congress” that no ANWR drilling will be allowed until “all petroleum reserves” have been exhausted from U.S. waters offshore and the onshore National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

The proposed amendment from Gerlach — one of several GOP centrists against opening ANWR — would offset the revenue loss from preventing ANWR leasing by cutting funds for the Prevention and Public Health Fund in the healthcare law.

The underlying bill would help fund transportation programs with revenues gained from substantially expanding offshore oil-and-gas leasing and opening ANWR. It would also require a permit for the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

Other energy-related amendments include an effort by a number of Florida lawmakers to block the bill’s expansion of oil-and-gas leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Elsewhere, some Republicans are again taking aim at EPA regulations.

Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) has an amendment that would block EPA from issuing stringent federal rules on disposal of wastes from coal-fired power plants, while Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) wants to delay and soften air toxics rules for cement plants.

Across the aisle, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) wants to force votes on recovering royalties from offshore leases that currently allow royalty-free production even when oil prices are high. But a version of that plan fell far short of the needed votes on the House floor early in 2011.

Markey and several other Democrats have also filed a plan that would repeal a suite of oil industry tax breaks.