Offshore drilling: get off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts

Last week, the Obama administration announced its five year plan for selling offshore drilling leases in U.S. waters. The plan focuses primarily on the Gulf of Mexico, with twelve potential lease sales scheduled to occur in the 2012-2017 timeframe.

These include five lease sales in the western Gulf of Mexico; five lease sales in the central Gulf; and two lease sales in the eastern Gulf that are not under congressional moratorium.

The plan also includes three potential lease sales off the coast of Alaska - a controversial decision given the likely challenges with spill prevention and response in the harsh conditions of the Arctic Ocean.

Notably, the plan does not open up new lease areas off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, a decision applauded by the Surfrider Foundation.

"We're pleased that the Obama Administration has decided to protect the Atlantic and Pacific coasts from new offshore drilling", said Pete Stauffer, Ocean Ecosystem Program Manager.

"Our nation's coasts are vital recreational, economic and ecological resources that will be polluted by an increase in offshore oil drilling."

Source: Surfrider Foundation