Alaska still focus of US energy policy debate when Congress returns from spring recess

The US energy policy spotlight will be on petroleum-rich federal lands in Alaska this spring, after Congress returns from its recess.First up will be a hotly disputed issue as Congress decides whether the time is right to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain to leasing. New developments in the past 2 weeks have served only to heat up the issue more.Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Senate Energy Committee chairman, on Mar. 27 asked Interior Sec. Gale Norton to release preliminary results of a US Geological Survey assessment of estimated oil and gas resources in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). The latest USGS estimate is to be released in mid-May and is expected t...

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