Alaska officials want some state areas out of drilling plan

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Alaska officials want some state areas out of drilling plan
File - In this Jan. 22, 2018, file photo, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, left, talks with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, right, before an event in her office on Capitol Hill in Washington. Alaska's pro-development congressional delegation is asking the Trump administration to back off from offering nearly all lands off the state's coast for petroleum leases. In a letter Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, to Zinke, Alaska Senators Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young say Cook Inlet, where petroleum extraction now occurs, and Arctic waters should be offered in lease sale plans. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska’s pro-development congressional delegation is asking the Trump administration to back off from a proposal to offer nearly all lands off the state’s coast for oil and gas drilling.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young say Cook Inlet, where petroleum extraction now occurs, and Arctic waters should be offered in planned lease sales.

But the all-Republican delegation says in a letter Friday to Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke that the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Strait, the Aleutian Islands and other regions should be removed.

The letter follows opposition to drilling in the Bering Strait region by Alaska Native groups.

The delegation says a drilling program focused on Cook Inlet and the Chukchi (chuk-CHEE) and Beaufort seas reflects the areas with the “broadest support for development among Alaskans.”