Oil and gas drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge moved closer Wednesday as a key Senate panel approved a bill to open the remote refuge to energy exploration.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the drilling measure, 13-10. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined 12 Republicans to back the bill.
Opening the remote refuge to oil and gas drilling is a longtime Republican priority that most Democrats fiercely oppose. The 19.6-million acre refuge in northeastern Alaska is one of the most pristine areas in the United States and is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski,...