The latest attempt by U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling tanked yesterday when almost the entire Senate (including Murkowski!) voted against it. Working with Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), Murkowski had hoped to tag the GOP energy bill and a separate anti-human-cloning bill on to an unrelated railroad retirement bill. Lott and Murkowski needed to get 60 votes to force the Senate to consider adding the amendment. Apparently, they could only rustle up 54 or 55 votes, so they called the whole stratagem off, and the Senate voted 94-1 against the plan. Murkowski downplayed the vote as “meaningless,” but environmentalists said it was a victory for their cause.
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