Gov. Frank Murkowski on Wednesday instituted a state hiring freeze, and said he would direct the attorney general to investigate the "state's right to hold BP fully accountable for losses to the state."

Murkowski made the announcement three days after BP announced it would shut down a Prudhoe Bay oil field after a small leak was found.

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The expected loss of 400,000 barrels per day at today's oil prices means $6.4 million lost daily in royalties and taxes, Revenue Commissioner Bill Corbus said.