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Obama Proposal Would Allow Expanded Offshore Drilling

The Obama administration is proposing to open vast areas of open water along the Atlantic coast, in the Gulf of Mexico, and off the northern coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling.

The proposal would end a longtime moratorium on drilling from Delaware to central Florida and would affect nearly 167 million acres of ocean and open 24 million acres in the eastern Gulf to development.

It would also authorize steps toward determining how much oil and natural gas lies off the coast of the Middle Atlantic and Southern states.

While the dramatic policy shift may gain some Republican support for the administration’s energy and climate initiatives, it is expected to alienate many environmental groups and Democrats who oppose expanded offshore drilling because of potential environmental impacts.

Under the terms of the proposal, Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would remain protected, but almost 130 million acres of ocean in the Arctic north of Alaska would be opened for oil exploration and development.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

photo: dans le grand bleu