Interior starts process for new offshore leasing plan

Shell’s Polar Pioneer leaving Dutch Harbor on Oct. 12, heading for Washington state. (Photo by John Ryan, KUCB - Unalaska)
Shell’s Polar Pioneer leaving Dutch Harbor in 2015. (Photo by John Ryan, KUCB – Unalaska)

The Trump administration announced an initial step toward a new offshore leasing plan that could mean new drilling rights in federal waters of the Arctic.

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On Monday the Interior Department will open a public comment period for a rewrite of the five-year plan.

In April, President Trump lifted the ban his predecessor imposed on new Arctic lease sales. A group of environmentalists filed suit, saying the president didn’t have the authority to overturn the indefinite ban. Even without that lawsuit, rewriting the five-year plan could take several years.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage.

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