BLM: Most high priority wells inspected in Alaska

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has had trouble keeping up with inspections of new oil wells in "high priority" locations during the country's recent drilling boom but that mostly was not the case in Alaska.

Nationwide, about 40 percent of high priority wells went uninspected from fiscal year 2009 to 2012. Of five drilled in Alaska, only one was not inspected.

High priority wells are near fragile watersheds or other high pollution risks.

BLM Alaska spokeswoman KJ Mushovic says the uninspected Hilcorp Alaska LLC well was in the Kenai Peninsula's Swanson River drilling unit. The agency had only one certified inspector on hand for the unit in the time period.

She said BLM has an ongoing struggle with recruitment and retention of petroleum program employees in part because of competition with private industry.

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