Drilling ruling doesn't affect Alaska suspension


Interior Department spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said the Louisiana court decision has no effect on the administration's decision to suspend until 2011 new offshore drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

"We wish it did," said Julie Hasquet, a spokeswoman for Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska. "But we don't think it does."

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced at the end of May he wouldn't consider applications for permits to drill in the Arctic until 2011. At the time, the White House said the department needed to gather more information about the region, evaluate the proposed drilling technology and evaluate oil-spill response capabilities for Arctic waters.