11/08/2011 - The Obama administration cautiously offered up more areas in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska’s coast to oil and gas drilling Tuesday but didn’t go far enough to satisfy Republicans pushing to greatly expand drilling as a way to create jobs and wean the country off foreign oil.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar unveiled a proposal to hold 15 lease sales for areas in the Gulf of Mexico, including two in the eastern Gulf, and three off Alaska’s coast in the time frame from 2012 to 2017. The sales off Alaska, where native groups and environmentalists have objected to drilling, would be the first since 2008. They would be held late in the five-year time frame to allow for scientific evaluations in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, which Interior officials called a “frontier” for drilling. And they would be targeted to avoid areas with cultural and environmental sensitivities, officials said.
“How do you drill a relief well? How do you put a containment system in place in those conditions? It is a very challenging situation up there to say the least,” said Marilyn Heiman, the Arctic Program Director for the Pew Environment Group.
Read the full article, Obama Cautiously Offers More Areas for Offshore Drilling in Alaska and Gulf of Mexico, on The Washington Post's Web site.