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ANCHORAGE - An interior Alaska waterway has made a conservation group's annual list of America's top 10 most endangered rivers.
American Rivers, based in Washington, D.C., named Beaver Creek, a tributary of the Yukon River that crosses into the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, as No. 8 on the list.
A petroleum drilling plan threatens clean water, wild salmon, recreation and Alaska Native culture along the river, according to the group.
Doyon Ltd., a regional Native corporation created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, has proposed a land trade with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that could lead to oil and natural gas exploration inside the refuge. The company says drilling could be done without harming the river.
American Rivers and others called on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to stop the land exchange developed under the Bush administration.
Doyon contends the development will provide jobs and revenue and that other communities in the region support the development. Estimates of oil on the Yukon Flats range from 173 million barrels to more than 800 million barrels, with possibly more potential for natural gas.