Obama de­clares state-size area off Alaska off lim­its for oil, gas

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - — Dave Boyer

Pres­i­dent Obama used his ex­ec­u­tive author­ity Fri­day to close more than 40,000 square miles off Alaska’s coast, an area about the size of Ken­tucky, from oil and gas leases.

The pres­i­dent’s or­der cov­er­ing the waters off­shore of Nome and sur­round­ing St. Lawrence Is­land also cre­ated a 112,300-square-mile area, named the North­ern Ber­ing Sea Cli­mate Re­silience Area, where a task force will be re­quired to co­or­di­nate fed­eral ac­tiv­i­ties “fo­cus­ing a lo­cally tai­lored col­lec­tion of pro­tec­tions re­lated to oil and gas, ship­ping and fish­ing,” the White House said.

That area would by it­self be the sev­enth-largest state.

The move comes one day af­ter Alaska’s con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion sent Mr. Obama a let­ter ob­ject­ing to the clos­ing of off­shore waters from fu­ture oil and gas leases.

“The gov­er­nor of Alaska, the lead­er­ship of the North Slope and north­west Arc­tic bor­oughs, the ma­jor­ity of the tribal lead­er­ship rep­re­sent­ing Alaska na­tives who live in the Arc­tic, a su­per­ma­jor­ity of the mem­bers of the Alaska state leg­is­la­ture, and an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of the Alaskan peo­ple also op­pose the with­drawal of acreage in these ar­eas,” wrote Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Daniel Sul­li­van, and Rep. Don Young, all Repub­li­cans.


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