More Alaska Arctic Waters Opening To Drillers

August 2012, Vol. 239 No. 8

Obama administration officials said they are preparing to open additional areas of the Arctic Ocean to oil and gas exploration.

This will be part of a "targeted leasing" strategy that will place a few of the most sensitive areas off limits but will allow new leasing in 2016 in the Chukchi Sea and 2017 in the Beaufort Sea.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the U.S. plans to expand the march of drilling rigs into the Arctic after Shell's initial exploratory drilling program this summer. He said that program is likely to win final federal approvals soon.