Alaska off the hook

In a reversal of its earlier plan, the Bush administration now wants to keep Alaska's potentially oil-rich wetlands off-limits to oil and gas drilling.

The Bureau of Land Management has proposed a 10-year leasing moratorium for 174,000 hectares wetlands near Teshekpuk Lake in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, saying that the region is ecologically sensitive. The area is potentially rich in oil and gas as well as a critical habitat for migrating birds and caribou. Green groups and local Inuits have hailed the decision.