The oil giant BP has withdrawn from the lobbying group that is leading the campaign to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to drilling, company spokesperson Paul Laird said yesterday. The decision underscores the growing concern among oil companies that the drilling debate could damage their public image. In the past, BP had worked closely with the lobbying group, Arctic Power, hosting journalists and Beltway politicians in Alaska in an effort to encourage them to support drilling plans. Laird said BP would consider drilling in the refuge in the future “[w]hen and if the American people decide ANWR should be opened.”
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