In direct conflict with its previous proclamations, the Obama administration today announced that there will not be any further new offshore oil drilling along the Atlantic Coast, the eastern Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific Coast.
"As a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill we learned a number of lessons, most importantly that we need to proceed with caution and focus on creating a more stringent regulatory regime," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said, in a Wednesday afternoon briefing to reporters.
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Though a moratorium will be instituted in the aforementioned waters, drilling will continue in the central and western Gulf of Mexico, but a new set of standards and safeguards will be put in place. For any current or future drilling there will be increased attention to equipment, safety, environmental safeguards and oversight.
"As our country looks for ways out of the hole of lackluster economic growth and job creation, today's decision shows that this administration would rather keep digging than take the ladder to increased economic prosperity offered by developing our nation's domestic energy resources.
The oil and natural gas industry is a reliable vehicle for growing the economy and creating good-paying jobs. This decision shuts the door on new development off our nation's coasts and effectively ensures that new American jobs will not be realized. It will stifle investment, deny billions in revenue for critical government services and increase our dependence on foreign energy sources.
The oil and natural gas industry is committed to safe and environmentally responsible operations, and both the industry and regulators have added new safeguards to ensure such operations.This reversal on new lease sales off America's coasts comes on top of a de facto moratorium, which has all but stopped new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico."