Sunday, July 19, 2009

Government rejects oil drilling deal in Alaska refuge

Oxbow Lake 

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rejected a controversial land trade that would have allowed oil and gas drilling in part of a national wildlife refuge in Alaska.

The service said it had made a preliminary decision to reject a Bush administration proposal in the works since 2004 to trade out land in the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge so that it could be explored for oil.

Opposition from residents of Native American villages near the proposed drill sites, new information on geologic resources and a closer look at climate-change impacts led to the unexpected shift against going through with the land trade, officials said.

"The (environmental review) process worked, though it may have led us in a different direction than we had originally anticipated. Going into this effort, we did not anticipate the level of opposition we heard from some of the most affected communities within the Yukon Flats," Refuge Manager Rob Jess said in a statement. …

Government rejects oil drilling deal in Alaska refuge

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