JUNEAU (AP) -- The state House approved a resolution Wednesday urging the U.S. Congress to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development.
The Legislature passes such resolutions nearly every legislative session, but some legislators hope the chances for opening the coastal plain of the refuge improved with the election of President George W. Bush.
Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, cast the only vote against the resolution. Kerttula said she worries about the effect of drilling on the Gwich'in Indians who depend on the Porcupine caribou herd that calves in the area. Other lawmakers said they believe the work can be done without hurting the environment.
The resolution was amended to include language urging that development be done in a way that protects the naturally occurring population levels of the caribou herd.
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