Whaling Commission offers conditional support to ANWR drilling

Posted: Sunday, February 25, 2001

BARROW (AP) -- The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission said it would support drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- but only with a moratorium placed on further offshore oil exploration and development.

The commission, which represents nine villages, passed a resolution Tuesday that stated its conditional stance on opening ANWR to petroleum exploration. Commissioners acted on the issue at their yearly mini convention.

The commission also wants whalers to be consulted on any development on the refuge, according to KBRW radio in Barrow.

By offering its support in exchange of a moratorium, the commission was formally registering its opposition to offshore projects like BP's Northstar oil development in the Beaufort Sea. Offshore opponents say such projects encroach on the migratory path of bowhead whales and can hurt traditional hunts.

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