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US begins review process for drilling in Alaska wildlife reserve

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
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The Trump administration this week will begin the environmental review process for oil and gas drilling on a section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

A notice from the US Department of the Interior says it will hold meetings in five Alaskan towns where the public can speak about drilling in the refuge, Reuters reports.

It is the first step in the review process, which will consider proposed seismic testing and exploration plans.

Conservationists have vowed to fight the opening of the reserve.

Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams said the Interior Department is "pursuing an irresponsibly aggressive timeline for Arctic Refuge drilling that reflects the Trump administration's eagerness to turn over America's public lands to private industry for development."

The US Geological Survey estimated in 1998 estimated that the so-called "1002 area" of the refuge held about 10.4 billion barrels of recoverable crude.

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Projected for Trump

State projected at: 03:12 EST (08:12 GMT)

3 electoral votes

Congress

Senate
2 seats, 1 up for election

Republican Lisa Murkowski – first elected as a write-in candidate in 2010 – has been re-elected. Alaska’s other seat is held by Republican Dan Sullivan.

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0 seats
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Republicans

2 seats
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Elected senator

Lisa Murkowski

Lisa Murkowski

Republican

House of Representatives
1 seat, up for election

Democrats

0 seats
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Republicans

1 seat
Change: (no change) since the last election.

Independents

0 seats
Change: (no change) since the last election.