The House has voted to allow oil drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge as part of a broad energy bill.
Democrats charge that the legislation would funnel (b) billions of dollars to highly profitable energy companies while doing little to promote conservation or ease gasoline prices.
But sponsors sponsors say oil from Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as much as a (m) million barrels a day, is needed to help curtail the country's growing dependence on oil imports.
Opponents say that oil wouldn't be available for a decade and even then at levels that would not significantly affect oil prices or imports.
A final vote on the energy legislation is expected by the House on Thursday, setting up a likely Senate conflict.