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Obama to allow oil drilling off Virginia coast

Submitted by on March 31, 2010 – 5:53 amNo Comment

In a reversal of a long-standing ban on most offshore drilling, President Barack Obama is allowing oil drilling 50 miles off Virginia’s shorelines.

At the same time, he is rejecting some new drilling sites that had been planned in Alaska.
   
Obama’s plan modifies a ban that for more than 20 years has limited drilling along coastal areas other than the Gulf of Mexico.  He is set to announce the new drilling policy Wednesday at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
    
The president, joined by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, also is set to announce that proposed leases in Alaska’s Bristol Bay would be canceled.  The Interior Department also plans to reverse last year’s decision to open up parts of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.  Instead, scientists would study the sites to see if they’re
suitable to future leases.
    
Obama is allowing an expansion in Alaska’s Cook Inlet to go forward.  The plan also would leave in place the moratorium on drilling off the West Coast.
    
In addition, the Interior Department has prepared a plan to add drilling platforms in the eastern Gulf of Mexico if Congress allows that moratorium to expire.  Under Obama’s plan, drilling could take place 125 miles from Florida’s Gulf coastline.