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Activists air grievances about drilling in Alaska refuge

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – Activists pushing against oil development in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge dominated a Bureau of Land Management public scoping meeting in Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the open house format meeting on plans for lease sales on the refuge’s coastal plain was quickly interrupted by protesters Monday.

The protesters aired grievances about the meeting style, its short notice and the lack of consultation with Alaska Natives during the drafting process for the environmental impact statement.

Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Joe Balash says he feels the majority of Alaska residents still support drilling in the section of the refuge, but those against are “incredibly passionate about it and feel very strongly.”

Public comment on the draft environmental impact statement is being accepted through March 13.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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