By The Associated Press
4:00 PM AKST, March 1, 2013
The Alaska Senate has unanimously passed a resolution urging Congress to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.
Alaska's political leaders have long supported this.
SJR3 urges Congress to pass legislation allowing for oil and gas development on the refuge's coastal plain while working to increase the development and use of renewable and alternative energy technologies.
Conservation groups and at least one tribal organization opposed SJR3, calling the refuge's value as an intact ecosystem increasingly important in the face of climate change. The deputy director of the Resource Development Council said U.S. national security and Alaska's economy depend on responsible development on the plain.
Alaska's lone U.S. House member has introduced legislation to allow for drilling on the plain, while a Massachusetts congressman has proposed protecting it as wilderness.