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ALASKA GOVERNOR ENDORSES PLAN FOR OFFSHORE OIL LEASES

Alaska Gov. Walter Hickel (Ind.) has given his approval to a federal plan to lease 21 million acres of offshore oil tracts in the Beaufort Sea. In a Jan. 14 letter to the United States Mineral Management Service, Governor Hickel endorsed the plan, said Harold Heinze, Alaska's commissioner of natural resources.

Hickel recommended that the government adopt seasonal drilling restrictions, require an oil-spill contingency plan, and exclude about 1 million acres near Barrow, Mr. Heinze said.

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Alaskan Eskimos and environmentalists oppose the lease sale. They say oil drilling in the Arctic seas will endanger whales and other wildlife.