Salazar hits GOP plan to fund highway bill with drilling

“It will not fund the transportation needs of the United States of America,” he said.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the GOP’s offshore leasing plan would bring in net federal revenues of $1.8 billion between 2013-2022, while opening ANWR would bring in a net $2.5 billion in leasing revenues between 2013-2022 (both figures account for payments to states).

Republicans argue the CBO is not giving enough credit for the amount of money that would be raised through the expanded oil-and-gas leasing.

The proposed drilling expansion is part of the GOP’s much wider $260 billion highway bill. GOP leaders have delayed a vote on the sweeping legislation that had been slated for later this week.

Check out The Hill's Transportation blog for much more on the battle over the highway bill.

Interior’s 2012-2017 leasing plan is narrower than what the GOP is seeking. It focuses largely on the central and western Gulf of Mexico, where development is already centered, and in the plan’s later years envisions new sales off Alaska’s northern coast.

Obama administration officials say it focuses on areas with large amounts of known resources.