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U.S. eyes lease sale, balance, in Alaska

Nov. 4, 2011 at 7:59 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Washington wants a balanced approach to natural resource development in Alaska, where an official sees "great promise" for the United States.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last summer visited Alaska with Deputy Secretary David Hayes, who is chairman of a working group on energy development onshore and in the Arctic Ocean. They reviewed proposed exploration in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

Hayes, returning from another trip to Alaska, said development in the state included not only oil and natural gas options but renewable energy resources as well. Alaska set a goal of getting half of its power from renewable energy by 2025.

"Alaska's energy resources -- onshore and offshore, conventional and renewable -- hold great promise and economic opportunity for the people of Alaska and across the nation," he said in a statement.

Hayes added that the Bureau of Land Management scheduled a lease sale Dec. 7 for roughly 3 million acres in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, the seventh such auction since 1999.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates Alaska has as much as 896 million barrels of oil and 53 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

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