Obama’s Oil Drilling Plan Draws Critics From Both Sides
The plan modifies a ban that for more than 20 years has limited drilling along coastal areas other than the Gulf of Mexico. It allows new oil drilling off Virginia's shoreline and considers it for a large chunk of the Atlantic seaboard. At the same time, he's rejecting some new drilling sites that had been planned in Alaska. Mr. Obama’s proposal would put Bristol Bay, home to major Alaska commercial fisheries and populations of endangered whales, off limits to oil rigs.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar developed the offshore drilling plan after conducting four public meetings over the past year in Alaska, California, Louisiana and New Jersey. The Interior Department received more than 500,000 public comments on the issue.
Mr. Salazar has said that he hoped to rebalance the nation’s oil and gas policy to find a middle ground between the “drill here drill now” advocacy of many oil industry advocates and the preservationist impulse to block oil exploration beneath virtually all public lands and waters.