JUNEAU (AP) -- The state Senate passed a resolution Monday urging Congress and President Bush to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration and development.
Similar non-binding resolutions have passed in recent years with little effect. But Alaska politicians hope Bush's election, a Republican-controlled Congress and tight energy supplies in the Lower 48 will overcome environmentalists' opposition to drilling in the refuge.
The resolution sponsored by Rep. Bev Masek, R-Willow, passed 18-2 with Democrats Kim Elton of Juneau and Georgianna Lincoln of Rampart voting no.
Lincoln said she's concerned about the impact of oil development on the Porcupine caribou herd, which Native villagers in her district depend on.
But Wrangell Republican Robin Taylor counters that caribou around the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and the trans-Alaska pipeline have prospered.
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