Business, labor groups urge Arctic offshore lease sales

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska and national business and labor groups launched a campaign Monday to keep Arctic areas in the next five-year federal offshore leasing plan.

    Twenty groups organized as the Arctic Coalition in print and broadcast advertisements are urging the Obama administration to retain a Beaufort Sea lease sale in 2020 and a Chukchi (chuk-CHEE) Sea lease sale in 2022.

    A decision is expected before the end of the year.

    Arctic drilling faces strong opposition by environmental groups. They say industrial activity will harm wildlife in a region already hit hard by climate warming and that petroleum companies have not demonstrated they can clean up a spill in ice-choked waters.

    Interior Secretary Sally Jewell canceled Arctic lease sales scheduled for 2016 and 2017. She cited market conditions and low industry interest.

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