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Workers relieve pressure on leaking Alaska oil well

Posted April 16

— Federal and state workers have reduced the amount of pressure in an oil well that is misting natural gas on Alaska's frozen North Slope, officials said Sunday.

Workers from the Alaska Department of Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Saturday night were able to connect hoses to valves that allow pressure in the well to be reduced, according to a statement from the state conservation department.

The statement says pressure in the well was monitored all night and excess pressure was released from the well.

The Environmental Protection Agency says a crack in the BP wellhead near Deadhorse sent up mist of crude oil Friday before it froze over and an initial leak stopped.

It's unclear how much has vented, but nearby workers have been evacuated and Alaskan Native villages dozens of miles away have been notified.

No injuries have been reported.

Officials say the initial oil release may have affected an area of about 1½ acres. There were no reports of damage to wildlife.

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