NASA weighs in on petroleum development in Arctic Ocean

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — America’s space agency is weighing in on future petroleum development in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska’s north coast.

Alaska’s Energy Desk reports that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management asked for comment as the Trump administration considers a 2019 lease sale in the Beaufort Sea.

A letter from NASA says Beaufort Sea drilling rigs could be affected by launches from its only high-latitude rocket range.

The space administration funds Poker Flat Research Range outside Fairbanks, which is known for aurora research.

NASA estimates that 70 rocket parts have landed in the Beaufort since the 1960s.

Poker Flat director Kathe Rich says the chance of rocket parts crashing onto oil rigs is extremely unlikely. She says what’s more likely is that more Beaufort Sea activity could limit research opportunities.

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