Obama signs order withdrawing Alaska's Bristol Bay from offshore oil and natural gas drilling

IndustriesAssociated Press

President Barack Obama is withdrawing Alaska's Bristol Bay from consideration for oil and gas drilling.

The decision announced Tuesday under the federal Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act means no leases will be sold for petroleum drilling in the area. The bay provides 40 percent of America's wild seafood and supports up to $2 billion in commercial fishing every year.

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Obama says in a video announcement that the natural resource is too precious to be put out to the highest bidder.

Bristol Bay is north of the Alaska Peninsula, which juts out west from mainland Alaska at the start of the Aleutian Islands chain.

Alaska's Republican U.S. senator, Lisa Murkowski, says the petroleum industry hasn't shown interest in the region and she's not objecting to the president's decision at this time.