Offshore drilling ban extended

The Obama Administration on Wednesday announced a ban on offshore drilling off the the Atlantic Coast and in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico through 2017.

“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 news release. “As that regime continues to be developed and implemented, we have revised our initial March leasing strategy to focus and expend our critical resources on areas with leases that are currently active. Our revised strategy lays out a careful, responsible path for meeting our nation’s energy needs while protecting our oceans and coastal communities.”

But critics such as U.S.Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., say offshore drilling could reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign oil.

“Energy development and job creation go hand in hand,” Price said in a statement.

“The resources President Obama is locking away could help wean us off foreign oil, pay down the national debt, and create good jobs right here at home,” Price added. “Keeping these areas off-limits to domestic energy production will only create more demand for offshore drilling in parts of the world with far less concern for environmental impacts.”

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