NPR-A bids roll in despite ruling

Posted: Wednesday, June 02, 2004

ANCHORAGE - A recent court ruling could push back by a year or more oil and gas exploration in an area of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska scheduled for bidding today, the head of Alaska's industry association says.

The ruling also could delay boosting needed national oil reserves and discourage companies from future exploration in Alaska if they think they will face "a constant barrage of environmental attacks," said Judy Brady, president of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association.

U.S. District Court Judge James Singleton ruled last week that the Bureau of Land Management could not permit successful bidders from occupying their leases until issues in a legal challenge by seven environmental groups are resolved.

The environmental groups say the lease plan violates several environmental protection laws and ignores sensitive habitat for North Slope birds, wildlife and whales.

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