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Democrats Fail to Remove Alaskan Drilling from Budget

Senate has voted to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. By a vote of 51-49, opponents were defeated in an effort to remove drilling from the Senate budget resolution.

No one knows for sure how much oil is under the tundra in the Alaskan refuge: Government estimates range from 5.6 to 16 billion barrels. Opponents say even in a best-case scenario, the amount of oil will make hardly a dent in U.S. energy needs, and it will be years before drilling is under way. There are no assurances that the budget resolution will win final passage in Congress, and both sides say they will continue to fight.

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NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.