What’s Behind U.S. Plan to Open Atlantic to Offshore Drilling?
U.S. may allow drilling in an area that hasn’t been tested in three-plus decades.
The Atlantic coast of the United States could be opened to unprecedented oil and natural gas drilling, under a proposal the Obama administration announced Tuesday, although it's unclear just how much energy lies beneath the ocean.
The Department of the Interior's draft plan for 2017-2022 could allow drilling in federal waters off the shores of four states—Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia—that have shown bipartisan support for such exploration. Yet it will bar drilling off parts of Alaska, notably whale-rich portions of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.
President Barack Obama's proposal, which will undergo public comment and review before it's finalized, suggests he's trying to strike a balance in dealing with the politically sensitive issue of drilling in protected areas.