The bill calls for $8.1 billion in tax breaks over 10 years, most of it going to promote coal, nuclear, oil and natural gas energy industries.
Development of the Alaska refuge has been a contentious issue for nearly a decade. Environmentalists fear a spider web of drilling platforms and pipelines would harm the area's polar bears, caribou, migrating birds and other wildlife.
Senate Democrats have pledged to filibuster any energy bill that would open the refuge to oil companies. An amendment to strip the Alaska refuge provision from the energy bill failed Wednesday night 231-200.
A final vote on the energy legislation is expected by the House on Thursday.
Humm, could we perhaps fund public transit to the tune of 8.1 billion instead and still have the same economic affect? Or, perhaps we could give folks a tax break to put solar panels on their roofs to the same number and spread out the wealth a bit rather than have the energy moguls have their way with us and our Congress.