Gov. Walker asks to use $10M on seismic surveying at refuge

file photo of Gov. Bill Walker (from AK Governor's Office)
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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Gov. Bill Walker's administration is asking the Alaska Legislature for permission to spend $10 million on seismic surveying in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Juneau Empire reported Tuesday that the seismic survey funding was included last week in a supplemental spending request delivered by the state to the Legislature.

State officials said the money would be used to provide better information about the oil and gas below the surface of the little-surveyed coastal plain.

Estimates by the Department of Interior to Congress indicate as much as $2.2 billion could be earned from the sales of oil and gas leases there.

The request comes at a critical time for the refuge, the federal government and the state, which is grappling with a $2.5 billion annual deficit.