The U.S. federal government on Wednesday announced a plan to manage energy drilling on part of Alaska's North Slope, with the 23-million-acre National Petroleum Reserveto be divided between areas available for oil and gas leases and those that are protected from development.

The announcement by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar followed the completion of an environmental impact study, which recommended development of areas that contain about 72 percent of the estimated "economically recoverable" oil in the reserve.

The move drew criticism from Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who said the Obama administration had not gone far enough to open up oil and natural gas resources in the area.

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