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US Interior Department To Approve Oil Drilling In Bristol Bay, Alaska January 9, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News.
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NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–The U.S. Interior Department said it may allow drilling for oil and gas in the Bristol Bay area off the coast of Alaska after President George W. Bush modified the leasing status of two areas.

Options for one or two lease sales in a 5.6 million-acre area near the Aleutian islands will be included in an upcoming program proposal from the Interior Department, according to a press release on its Web site.

The U.S. Congress introduced a moratorium on oil-and-gas activities in the Bristol Bay area in 1990, according to the release. That moratorium was discontinued by fiscal year 2004, but President Bill Clinton had withdrawn the area from consideration for oil and gas leases until 2012.

President Bush reversed that action in response to congressional action and at the request of state leaders, according to the press release.

Another area in the central Gulf of Mexico will also be opened to drillers after legislation Bush signed in December.

“There will be significant opportunities for study and public comment before any oil and gas development could take place in these areas,” said Interior Secretary Dick Kempthorne, in the statement, referring to both the Alaska and Gulf of Mexico tracts.

By Rob Curran, Dow Jones Newswires

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