MMS Offer Exploration Rights

Friday, January 04, 2008
The Minerals Management Service will offer oil and gas exploration rights next month to 29.7 million acres in the remote Chukchi Sea off northwestern Alaska, according to a Reuters report. The decision to hold the February 6 lease sale, the first in the Chukchi since 1991, comes days before the Fish and Wildlife Service will decide whether to list the polar bear as threatened and has drawn fire from environmentalists seeking to limit oil development in the area. In the past, companies seeking to drill Alaska's offshore regions have concentrated on areas as close to shore as possible, minimizing distances from infrastructure and potential costs. Senator John Kerry criticized the lease sale plan and said the MMS should wait at least three years to investigate potential impacts to polar bears, being considered for
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