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December 5, 2002

ALASKA: BP quits group lobbying for oil drilling in ANWR

British Petroleum has dropped out of Arctic Power, the lobbying group pushing lawmakers to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling. The vast tract of land is believed to contain significant, though undetermined, oil reserves. It also happens to be protected by the government, and environmentalists have long warned that drilling in ANWR would do serious damage to the Arctic ecosystem. BP denies giving in to pressure from environmental groups, stating that "ANWR has never been a part of [BP’s] investment portfolio," because of the legal, environmental, and economic issues surrounding ANWR’s potential development. The proposal to drill in ANWR is contentious among indigenous communities in the region – the Inupiat of the North Shore favor it, while the Gwich’in, who rely on local caribou herds, are steadfastly opposed.