Energy department funds tundra study

Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) The U.S. Department of Energy is funding a study that could result in a longer Alaska oil exploration season.

The study will gauge the tundra's resistance to disturbance, said Bob Loeffler, director of the state Department of Natural Resources lands division. He said the exploration season is getting shorter each year.

The $270,000 study will test different types of tundra to see which ones freeze up first.

Loeffler said it could be possible to move lighter equipment over some tundra earlier.

But environmentalist Pam Miller, a consultant with Arctic Connections, said the study is the first step in relaxing standards for building the ice roads that the industry uses to move equipment during the season.

Results of the study are due out next year.

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