The Obama administration on Tuesday reversed its position on allowing expanded offshore drilling off the mid and southern Atlantic Coasts and in eastern waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
In March, the administration softened its opposition to expanded offshore oil and gas drilling in an effort to gain Republican support for a comprehensive climate change bill. But the compromise gained no support, and within weeks, the BP oil spill brought the issue front and center--demonstrating the enormous threat to coastal economies that rely on fishing and tourism.
“As a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill we learned a number of lessons, most importantly that we need to proceed with caution and focus on creating a more stringent regulatory regime,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. “As that regime continues to be developed and implemented, we have revised our initial March leasing strategy to focus and expend our critical resources on areas with leases that are currently active. Our revised strategy lays out a careful, responsible path for meeting our nation's energy needs while protecting our oceans and coastal communities.”
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