Senate votes in favor of drilling in Arctic Refuge

Oil companies are closing in on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In a crushing blow to those who have long fought to preserve the unspoiled Alaskan wildland, the Senate this afternoon voted 51-49 against an amendment by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) that would have stripped from a budget bill a provision clearing the way for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge. The vote doesn’t mean drilling is a done deal — there’s still lots of wrangling to be done over the budget bill that contains the refuge provision — but it means it’s closer to happening than ever before.