PHILADELPHIA - While George W. Bush supports opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, he won't talk about it in his keynote speech to the Republican National Convention on Thursday night.
The GOP presidential nominee has stated his support for opening ANWR, a top priority of Alaska delegates attending the convention. But Bush's staff cut a reference to drilling in the refuge from the speech in part because of concerns about controversy, said U.S. Rep. Don Young, an Alaska Republican.
``His staff is very, very apprehensive,'' Young told Alaska delegates Wednesday. ``Realistically, we have to face up to the fact that a lot people in the Lower 48 are under constant bombardment from nonprofit organizations about how terrible it is to the environment.''
The Republican-controlled Congress twice has authorized drilling in the refuge. President Clinton blocked both efforts and Vice President Al Gore has said he would do the same.