Environment: A Crude Warning

The largest oil spill in Alaska's North Slope raises sticky questions about future drilling in the Arctic

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BP EXPLORATION / AP

MOPPING UP: White-suited cleanup crews had to battle temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit below zero

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In Congress, supporters of the Administration's policies say the country needs ANWR oil to be energy independent and to fight the pinch at the pump, while opponents call it a land grab for Big Oil. Most observers agree, however, that with House Republicans deeply divided on the topic, the Senate's ANWR amendment will probably die the same death it did last year. One Republican staff member called it the Groundhog Day amendment.

Back in Prudhoe Bay, the battle lines are clearer. Braving temperatures as low as 40°F below zero, cleanup crews have contained the spill and are trucking in fresh snow to absorb whatever oil can't be vacuumed up. BP hopes to recover 90% of the lost crude, which it will funnel back into the pipeline and pump to the port of Valdez for sale on the open market.

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