FAIRBANKS - The Fish and Wildlife Service has rejected a proposed land exchange at the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge.
In a preliminary decision Thursday, the service picked the "no action" alternative from a range of options in environmental studies.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports it indicates the agency's direction for the final decision expected in early 2010.
Doyon Ltd. would have received 110,000 acres plus oil and gas rights to another 97,000 acres of refuge lands. In exchange, the refuge would have picked up at least 150,000 acres owned by Doyon within refuge boundaries.
The FWS decision was welcomed by many in communities near the refuge who feared it would open a pristine area to oil and gas development.