ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The Bureau of Land Management has announced it will be accepting oil exploration bids for more than half of the land on a Northern Alaska petroleum reserve that’s the size of Indiana.
Alaska’s Energy Desk reports that the Bureau’s announcement on Wednesday is the largest lease sale to be offered in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Up for bid are 900 tracts, compared to the 145 tracts offered last year.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke earlier this year directed the Bureau to maximize the amount of reserve land available for lease.
Alaska’s congressional delegation praised the announcement, while environmental groups say the reserve should not be “plundered without restraint.”
The Obama administration decided to mark portions of the reserve off-limits to leasing, citing the protection of bird and caribou habitat.
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