US Halts Bush Plan for Offshore Drilling

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2009 5:23 PM CST
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Interior chief Ken Salazar isn't quite ready to drill, baby, drill. Salazar said today that a last-minute Bush initiative opening up millions of offshore acres to oil drilling would be shelved pending a 6-month review, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The policy affects much of the East and West coasts. Salazar, who denounced the Bush move as a "headlong rush of the worst kind," plans meetings with the oil industry and environmentalists alike.

Salazar said the proposal “opened the possibility of oil and gas leases along the entire Eastern seaboard, portions of offshore California and the far eastern Gulf of Mexico with almost no consultation from states, industry or community input.” Environmentalists cheered the move, but one industry group said the “unnecessary delay will hold America back, at the precise moment when we need to move forward.”