Senate Rejects Bid To Protect Refuge From Oil Drilling - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/3/05- Capitol Hill

Senate Rejects Bid To Protect Refuge From Oil Drilling

A plan to drill for oil in an Arctic wildlife refuge has survived a challenge in the Senate.

The Senate voted 51-to-48 against stripping the proposal from a huge budget bill.

Drilling in the Arctic is a top energy priority for the Bush administration.

Supporters of drilling argued that with the recent spike in oil prices, drilling in Alaska is needed to help reduce the country's reliance on oil imports.

Opponents say the drilling proposal will have little impact on oil or gasoline prices, or U-S energy security. They also warn it will destroy the wildlife refuge.

The Senate also approved an amendment that would require any oil produced in the refuge to remain in the U-S.

Democrat Ron Wyden warned that without that requirement, the oil would go to the "highest bidder in the Far East."

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