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March 16, 2005

Senate Votes to Open Alaskan Oil Drilling

Topics: National News

- AP 42 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Amid the backdrop of soaring oil and gasoline prices, a sharply divided Senate on Wednesday voted to open the ecologically rich Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling, delivering a major energy policy win for President Bush (news - web sites).

The Senate, by a 51-49 vote, rejected an attempt by Democrats and GOP moderates to remove a refuge drilling provision from next year's budget, preventing opponents from using a filibuster -- a tactic that has blocked repeated past attempts to open the Alaska refuge to oil companies.

The action, assuming Congress agrees on a budget, clears the way for approving drilling in the refuge later this year, drilling supporters said. The House has not included a similar provision in its budget, so the issue is still subject to negotiations later this year to resolve the difference.

The oil industry has sought for more than two decades to get access to what is believed to be billions of barrels of oil beneath the 1.5 million-acre coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the northern eastern corner of Alaska.

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Posted by Hyscience at March 16, 2005 3:43 PM

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