US censors report on Arctic energy reserves ahead of contract auction

The United States has blocked the release of a landmark assessment of oil and gas activity in parts of the Arctic ahead of selling off exploration contracts for the same region, reports The Independent.

The frozen Chukchi Sea off Alaska is also one of the last intact habitats of the polar bear.

Scientists expressed “huge frustration” that the long-awaited assessment of the race for the Arctic’s energy reserves was derailed by the United States.

One of the report’s lead authors, who asked not to be named, is quoted by The Independent as saying: "They [the US] have blocked it. We have no executive summary and no plain language conclusions."

The Bush administration drew widespread criticism earlier this month for announcing their intention to auction off, on February 6, 30 million acres of the remote Chukchi Sea.

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