A quest by Republicans to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Reserve was slowed after a nonpartisan Senate official ruled late on Wednesday that the exploration was subject to environmental assessments by the Interior Department. FILE PHOTO: Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) arrives for a Senate health care vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska and the head of the Senate energy panel, has been pushing a measure in the U.S. tax bill that would open a portion of the refuge on the coastal plain to two lease sales in 10 years for drilling. But the nonpartisan Senate official took issue with the energy committee measure as it did not fully consider requirements under a national environmental law. The official ruled that oil exploration in the refuge is not exempt to an environmental law requiring the […]