What Obama's Drilling Bans Mean for Alaska and the Arctic
With state revenues declining, Alaska wants more oil. Obama is pushing back—a little.
President Barack Obama has effectively banned oil exploration, at least for the time being, on some 22 million acres of federal land and waters in Alaska: 12 million acres on land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and 10 million acres offshore in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.
The policy, announced last week, won't have much effect on the nation's oil production—Alaska accounts for only 7 percent of it, and most of the protected areas have been off-limits to industry for decades. And it didn't really change the status quo or offer anywhere near the environmental protection the President could have conveyed. But he sure ticked off some Alaskans.
In what has become the trademark Texas two-step of