Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Feds to cancel Bristol Bay oil and gas leasing?

The Obama administration tomorrow might nix planned oil and gas leasing in the federal waters of Bristol Bay, also known as the North Aleutian basin.

The announcement is expected to come as the feds unveil their new national offshore oil and gas leasing plan.

"In a nod to its environmental base, the administration is expected to keep the Pacific coast off limits, as well as new areas of Alaska such as Bristol Bay," says a story the Wall Street Journal posted on its site today.

The government previously had proposed two lease sales in the North Aleutian basin, one next year and another in 2014.

It'll be interested to see whether the government cans one or both.

Oil and gas leasing is, of course, a highly controversial subject in Bristol Bay, which is rich in salmon, groundfish and crab.

A 1986 lease sale in the bay ultimately was reversed in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Potential drillers, such as Shell, regard Bristol Bay as a better bet for natural gas than oil.

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