President Obama plans to clear the way for drilling for oil and gas in new areas off the Atlantic coast, Alaska, and in the Gulf of Mexico, administration officials say. The proposal—to be unveiled today at a joint press conference with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar—keeps intact the moratorium on new drilling off the Pacific coast and the Atlantic coast from New Jersey north, but lifts it for a vast area off Virginia.
Alaska's environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay will be protected from drilling but large areas of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas will be studied to see if drilling is viable. The compromise plan may help Obama gain some support for his climate bill from lawmakers with oil industry connections, although he is certain to face a backlash both from environmentalists and the governors of some of the states affected, the New York Times. notes.
(Read more Department of the Interior stories.)