The prospects of oil and gas production from a sliver of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was discussed by a key house committee Wednesday in a hearing that turned testy at times and highlighted the vast divide between Republicans and Democrats on the issue.

Republican Doc Hastings of Washington, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, invited a panel of witnesses that included Alaska’s governor, the state’s two US senators, and Carey Hall, otherwise known as “Big Daddy,” a truck driver featured on the History Channel series “Ice Road Truckers.”

“I am not a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist, but I can tell you one thing I do know — it is with vigilance and dedication and that oil companies keep working to produce safe practices, regulating the way they work with the natural resources and the environment,” Hall said. “It’s about jobs — our economy needs them.