Obama Opens Alaska Oil Preserve And Maybe The Atlantic Coast To Drilling
President Obama is going to expand oil drilling in Alaska and possibly the Atlantic coast. The president wants to be seen as being open to domestic drilling for the purpose of reducing imports.
But in fact the policies announced Saturday would not have an immediate effect on supply or prices, nor would they quickly open any new areas to drilling.
“These spikes in gas prices are often temporary,” Mr. Obama said, “and while there are no quick fixes to the problem, there are a few steps we should take that make good sense.”
In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president said the administration would begin to hold annual auctions for oil and gas leases in the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve, a 23-million-acre tract on the North Slope of Alaska. The move comes after years of demands for the auctions by industry executives and Alaska’s two senators, Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, and Mark Begich, a Democrat.
The administration will also accelerate a review of the potential environmental impact of drilling off the southern and central Atlantic coast and will consider making some areas available for exploration. The move is a change from current policy, which puts the entire Atlantic seaboard off limits to drilling until at least 2018.
Environmentalists are cautious in their reaction.
Eric Myers, Alaska policy director for the National Audubon Society, said conservationists were willing to see an increase in drilling in the Alaskan petroleum reserve as long as it did not threaten wildlife, waters or sensitive lands.
The more environmentally sensitive Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska will remain off limits to oil and gas drillers, administration officials said Friday.Click here for reuse options!
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