Obama Drilling Plan Draws Critics

From The New York Times
President Obama's proposal to open vast expanses of American coastlines to oil and natural gas drilling drew criticism from both sides in the drilling debate. The plan, which Mr. Obama said would balance the need to produce more domestic energy while protecting natural resources, would allow drilling along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska. It would end a longstanding moratorium on exploration from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean. "Drilling our coasts will doing nothing to lower gas prices or create energy independence," Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement. It will only jeopardize beaches, marine life, and coastal tourist economies, all so the oil industry can make a short-term profit." On the other hand, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called Mr. Obama's proposal "a step in the right direction, but a small one that leaves enormous amounts of American energy off limits."

One interesting aspect of the proposal are plans to scrap a controversial mine in Alaska's famed Bristol Bay. But with a catch...

Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border. The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said. But large tracts in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska -- nearly 130 million acres -- would be eligible for exploration and drilling after extensive studies.

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