A federal task force considering the sale of new oil leases off California and Florida promised Friday to closely examine emergency spill-response capabilities in light of environmental damage from the Alaska oil spill.

Assurances of proper safeguards during drilling and transportation have become "a very important factor" after the environmental havoc caused by the huge spill in Prince William Sound, said Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan."We would be foolish not to take into consideration the lessons learned in Alaska and apply them to this task force," Lujan told reporters at a news conference after the group's first meeting.