Bush Admin. Opens Nearly 9 Million Alaskan Acres to Oil Exploration

Interior Secretary Gale Norton approved a plan on Thursday that will open nearly 9 million acres of pristine land on Alaska’s North Slope to oil exploration and drilling. She pledged that the exploration and production in the area, a section of the huge National Petroleum Reserve, would be done in an “environmentally responsible manner with the best available technology.” Enviros weren’t convinced. “It makes no sense to industrialize this incomparable wilderness area when there’s only about six months’ worth of economically recoverable oil … and it would take at least 10 years to get it to market,” said Charles Clusen of the Natural Resources Defense Council.