A long-standing ban on oil and gas drilling off some of America’s shores could be reversed, under plans outlined by President Barack Obama.
Opening up parts of the Atlantic coast, Alaska and possibly offshore Florida to exploration is part of
his drive to reduce US dependency on foreign oil. He says renewable energy remains a priority.
Speaking at Andrews air base in Maryland, Obama said: “What I want to emphasise is that this announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy.”
Concerns that spills could cause a disaster prompted the ban on drilling in most offshore areas outside the Gulf of Mexico. Some fear for the coastline if it is overturned.
“Fifty miles off of Virginia is also 50 miles off of the beaches of Delaware, is also 50 miles off of the outer banks of North Carolina,” said Phil Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA. “This could really affect our economy, our environment and our future.”
President Obama needs support from Republicans to pass a climate change bill that would set limits on US greenhouse gas emissions. And, by giving ground to their demands for offshore drilling, he hopes to win crucial opposition votes.