Bush may end drilling ban in Alaskan bay
By JOHN HEILPRIN
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
WASHINGTON -- President Bush is deciding whether to lift a ban on oil and
gas drilling in federal waters off Alaska's Bristol Bay, home to endangered
whales and sea lions and the world's largest sockeye salmon run.
Leasing in a portion of the area rich in oil and natural gas ended nearly
two decades ago - while Bush's father was president - in the outcry after
the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.
But with natural gas prices higher, the Interior Department's Minerals
Management Service proposed reopening up the North Aleutian Basin. That
includes Bristol Bay and part of southeastern Bering Sea.
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel confirmed Saturday the president was
considering taking that step.
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