New tensions have emerged over environmental protection in the US state of Alaska, with President Obama proposing to designate most of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a wilderness area – challenging attempts to exploit the area for oil and gas exploration – while the oil company Shell has announced that it expects to resume a drilling programme in the Arctic waters around the state later this year.

President Obama’s proposal, made in February, would set aside nearly 12.3 million acres as wilderness, including the coastal plain near the northeastern tip of Alaska, giving it the highest ...


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