Oil and gas drilling in a vast northern Alaskan wildlife refuge the U.S. government has protected since 1960 moved a step closer to reality on Saturday with the passage by U.S. Senate Republicans of the tax bill. Republicans attached a measure introduced by Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski to the tax bill to open a portion of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR. The 51 to 49 passage of the tax overhaul early Saturday was a “critical milestone in our efforts to secure Alaska’s energy future,” Murkowski said. Sponsored Democrats and environmentalists deplore the prospect of development in ANWR, home to polar bears and millions of migrating birds and where Gwich‘in natives depend on migrating caribou. Stitching ANWR legislation into the tax bill that only needed a majority in the 100-member chamber was a “backdoor move” that never would have passed as a stand-alone bill […]