Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Obama Administration Proposes Expanded Offshore Drilling

Center Opposes Expanded Drilling Off East & West Coasts and Coast of Florida

The Obama administration is proposing to expand offshore oil and natural-gas exploration in the eastern Gulf of Mexico more than 125 miles from Florida's coast, from Delaware to central Florida and in the Arctic Ocean, north of Alaska. Thankfully, the plan does not allow new oil and gas development off the coasts of Northern Atlantic states or expanded drilling off the coast of California. The president also announced that proposed leases in Alaska's Bristol Bay would be canceled and he is reversing last year's decision to open up parts ofthe Chukchi and Beaufort seas north of Alaska.

President Obama has opposed and supported expanded offshore drilling. The Obama administration is using expanded drilling as a carrot to attract support for climate/energy legislation. President Obama was joined by Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at Andrews Air Force Base today to announce the end of a 20-year ban on drilling in the proposed offshore areas. The Minerals Management Service of the Department of the Interior will conduct the first new offshore oil and gas lease sale that includes an area 50 miles off the coast of Virginia in 2012.

The Center will work to reestablish the moratorium on expanded drilling. The risks to our Atlantic coastlines and the Florida coastline are simply too great to accept in exchange for climate mitigation. Our oceans are already stressed with the prospect of increased acidification due to carbon dioxide emissions.

Congress allowed the moratorium to expire in 2008. President George W. Bush lifted the ban, which opened the door to Obama's change in policy. (WSJ, 3/31/10, NYT-graphic, 3/31/10)

Remarks by The President on Energy Security at Andrews Air Force Base

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