U.S. Halts Plan to Drill in Eastern Gulf

Publication: The New York Times

Author: John M. Broder and Clifford Krauss

12/01/2010 - The Obama administration announced on Wednesday that it had rescinded its decision to expand offshore oil exploration into the eastern Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic Coast because of weaknesses in federal regulation revealed by the BP oil spill.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that a moratorium on drilling would be in force in those areas for at least seven years, until stronger safety and environmental standards were in place. The move puts off limits millions of acres of the Outer Continental Shelf that hold potentially billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas.


“What it means is they’ve learned a great deal from the Macondo blowout and they’re taking a lot of places off the table that originally were going to be considered,” said Marilyn Heiman, an oceans expert at the Pew Environment Group. She said she was troubled, however, by the decision to move forward with exploration off Alaska. “They still need to learn a lot more as it relates to drilling in the Arctic.”

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