The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has approved Hilcorp Alaska’s drilling project for the Liberty prospect in the Beaufort Sea, and this is the first approval for a drilling project in federal waters, the Department of Interior said in a press release. The release noted the BOEM had studied the project’s potential impact on the environment in detail to make sure it would be safe, but this is unlikely to convince environmentalists it is good for anyone but the oil industry. Congress voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling last December, after forty years of often heated discussions of the issue. Earlier this year, the Department of the Interior said it had allocated US$4 million for construction work ahead of the start of oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Alaska, which generates a substantial portion of its budget income from the oil […]