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Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is in the news again, and this time it is about special use a permit for exploration in one of the areas of ANWR. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional stance is that when the Secretary of the Interior submitted report by to Congress in 1987, the permit expired and feels the State of Alaska’s Exploration Plan has been advanced too late resulting in the agency not hearing or analyzing the State of Alaska’s exploration plans.”

The State of Alaska disagrees with Fish and Wildlife’s reading of Alaska National Interest Lands Act (ANILCA, 1980), claiming the Interior Department’s legal opinion states that there isn’t an expiration date mentioned in ANILCA. The State’s claim is that the Secretary of the Interior must take certain actions when receiving an exploration plan; they believe that 3-D seismic testing in ANWR will show the amount and robustness of oil under the coastal plain while delivering very little impact on the top of the plain by using the latest of technology.

The future question may be, with polar icebreaking oil transit ships being unveiled, as to whether which type of petrol extraction will have more impact on wildlife- that on the coastal plain, or out on the ocean? More research will probably point to a comparison of effects in the future.