ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal agency will solicit expressions of interest for petroleum drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Wednesday it’s calling for companies to nominate areas of the Beaufort where they might bid in a 2019 sale.

The solicitation also asks for identification of areas too environmentally sensitive to drill.

A proposed sale is part of a 5-year lease sale plan announced Jan. 4 by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

The 30-day call for nominations will appear Thursday in the Federal Register.

Arctic offshore drilling is strongly opposed by environmental groups, who say oil spills can’t be cleaned in ice-choked Arctic waters.

Miyoko Sakashita of the Center for Biological Diversity says the Trump administration’s hasty announcement will meet a wall of public and legal opposition.