The Obama administration announced plans Tuesday to open up parts of the Arctic and waters off the mid- and south Atlantic coasts to drilling. The contentious new plan, unveiled by the Interior Department, proposes 14 potential leases between 2017 and 2022 in parts of the Arctic, Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The leases open up drilling on nearly 80 percent of undiscovered, potentially recoverable resources off the nation’s outer continental shelf.
Drilling remains off-limits off the Pacific coast, where political opposition to offshore oil and gas exploration has long been fierce. Some areas of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off the Alaskan coast—which the administration deemed “simply too special to develop”—have also been banned from leasing.
Here’s a map of the areas that were previously open to drilling and the new areas proposed for leasing. Click to enlarge.
Think Progress reports that President Obama has proposed oil and gas drilling along the east coast:
On Tuesday, the Obama administration released a proposal to sell offshore oil and gas leases in new areas of federally owned waters, including regions along the Atlantic Coast from Virginia to Georgia. The announcement is part of the Department of Interior’s latest five-year plan, which includes federal leases from 2017 to 2022.
The proposal is a draft that could be significantly altered or narrowed after upcoming months of public hearings and input, however it does not require congressional approval. The entire draft includes 14 potential lease sales in eight different areas, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico, but also three off the coast of Alaska and the portion along Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia.
The proposed opening of federal waters for drilling comes just days after the Obama administration announced plans to protect more than 12 million acres in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), which would prohibit oil and gas drilling. If the White House’s proposal does get upheld by Congress, ANWR’s designation as a wilderness area would be the largest such designation since the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964.Continue reading Obama Opens Up New Areas of Atlantic Coast to Offshore Drilling→
On Saturday, January 10, groups opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline rallied at the White House to urge the administration to stop it after the new Republican-led Congress made getting the pipeline built its first issue of business.
On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee passed a bill to expedite the construction of the northern leg of the KXL. On Friday, the House passed its version of the bill. The full Senate will begin debating the bill on Monday.
Also on Friday, the Nebraska State Supreme Court ruled against three landowners in the Keystone XL’s path, and upheld the constitutionality of a law which they had challenged.
On November 18, the Senate effort to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline fell one vote short of the necessary supermajority. As the last votes were counted and Senator Mary Landrieu’s hopes of proving her undying fealty to Big Oil were dashed, a lone voice from the gallery burst out in song.
Outside the Chamber, in contrast to the noble song, cue the Imperial March played on a kazoo. Senator Mitch McConnell greeted the press, eager to say that Keystone XL will be “early on the agenda” of the next Congress.