ice-thaw-nasaIn the midst of a Persian Gulf war, Venezuelan oil strike, and record high prices at the pump, eight Republicans joined 44 Democrats in the U.S. Senate voting 52-48 to block oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The proposal to drill in the refuge was part of the fast-track budget reconciliation bill. The March 19 vote, on an amendment introduced by Barbara Boxer (D-CA), prevents the Senate from considering the drilling plan as part of the budget.

The eight Republicans voting with Democrats were lawmakers Coleman-MN, McCain-AZ, Smith-OR, DeWine-OH, both Maine Senators Collins and Snowe, and both Rhode Island Senators, Chafee and Fitzgerald.

Each Alaskan senator voted to welcome the drilling along with Democrats, Miller from Georgia, both Louisiana Senators, Landrieu and Breaux, and the pair of Hawaiian Senators Inouye and Akaka.

(That popping sound you hear is Alaskan caribou uncorking the champagne.)

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