Oil and gas exploration bill passes

    Washington, D.C.(KINY) The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the drilling measure for a project on the north slope of Alaska, 13-10.

    Oil and gas drilling would occur in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge  It is a mostly remote area.  About 19.6 million acres would be opened to the drilling.

    Chairman of the Committee, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said drilling can be done safely with new technology with few environmental impacts.  She said they will not harm the caribou, polar bears, migratory birds and other wildlife.

    Alaska will agree to receive only 50 percent of the royalty fees, or about $1 billion over the next 10 years.  The previous agreement stated Alaska would receive 90 percent of those revenues.

    Environmental groups oppose the project.

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