WATCHING WASHINGTON BRISTOL BAY IMPASSE

With Patrick Crow A congressional hearing last week found no easy answers to the problem of how to resolve controversial offshore oil and gas leases. A House merchant marine subcommittee held a hearing on a bill by Rep. Don Young (R-Alas.) that would allow the buyback of 23 tracts in Bristol Bay off Alaska. It would cancel all leases in the area, block leasing for a decade, and repay operators in cash or forgive their delay rentals or royalties on other offshore leases.

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