Two US senators want new drilling reconsidered as oil prices soar

With oil hitting $110 a barrel, US gas prices reaching record highs and energy costs growing prohibitive, US Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Thursday it's time to reconsider oil exploration on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She, along with fellow Alaska Republican US Sen. Ted Stevens, introduced legislation to open up ANWR should oil prices reach $125 for five straight days. "You get to a point where maybe there is a tipping point when it comes to driving action on an issue like ANWR," Murkowski told The Associated Press. "People are talking about what's going on with the high price of gasoline and the high price of energy that we are feeling acutely at home." The 1.2 million-acre coastal strip has long been protected from efforts to open the area east of Prudhoe Bay oil field to energy companies. If opened, Murkowski said revenues would be used by the federal government for alternative energy development, plus energy relief programs for low-income families.