Drilling in Alaska Passes
The House of Representatives recently voted to allow oil and gas drilling on a 2,000-acre swath of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The plan is part of an energy bill that will encourage energy production, promote conservation and raise fuel efficiency standards. Environmentalists lobbied against exploration because the refuge - home to caribou, migrating birds and other wildlife during the summer - would be destroyed by trucks and equipment. But Republican leaders countered that the oil drilling technology is now so advanced it would not harm the tundra, which is a blanket of ice most of the year. With the United States heavily reliant on foreign oil, drilling supporters underscored the need for greater domestic oil production. The Teamsters Union, eager to create jobs, joined forces with Republican leaders to persuade members to reject an amendment that would have blocked drilling.