The US Senate has rejected oil drilling in Alaska’s arctic wildlife refuge. Eight moderate Republicans backed a Democratic amendment to a budget resolution outlawing drilling in the refuge. Development of the estimated 15 billion barrels of oil beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in north-eastern Alaska has been a big part of Bush’s energy plan. Environmentalists, however, have argued that drilling would disturb polar bears, interfere with caribou breeding grounds and endanger migratory birds. The refuge covers 19 million acres in NE Alaska. The Bush plan would open 1.5 million acres on the coast to drilling. Democrats argued that at the earliest, oil would not flow from the reserve for 10 years, and that conservation was the best way to ease the United State’s dependence on imported energy.