obama oil

Drilling plan opens new areas but halts Alaska sales


By Kara Rowland and Stephen Dinan THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Obama’s new offshore drilling plan opens up some new areas for oil and gas exploration but also cancels some Alaska lease sales planned for the next two years, putting billions of barrels of oil out of reach for now.

The long-awaited plan, announced Wednesday, expands drilling opportunities off the coast of the southern Atlantic seaboard, in the Gulf of Mexico and some parts of Alaska, but halts other future sales in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas that drilling advocates say could account for far more oil than the new areas the president proposes to open up.

The announcement, which Mr. Obama made at Andrews Air Force Base alongside Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar, pleased only a small swath of Democrats. It left most Republicans angry at what the president put out of bounds, and left environmental groups and liberal Democrats furious at what is being allowed.

The White House portrayed the move as a follow-through on one of Mr. Obama’s campaign promises.

“This is not a decision that I’ve made lightly,” said the president, who, along with Mr. Salazar, mulled the drilling policy for more than a year.

“But the bottom line is this: Given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth and produce jobs, and keep our businesses competitive, we are going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel even as we ramp up production of new sources of renewable, homegrown energy,” he said.

Gas prices are approaching $3 a gallon, up $1 since Mr. Obama took office, but analysts said the moves are unlikely to have an immediate effect at the pump, and the long-term consequences are unclear.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/apr/01/obama-gets-slick-with-oil-gambit/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_politics-government

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