...the Republican-led House on Wednesday voted to revoke Obama's five-year plan for offshore drilling, replacing it with its own plan that calls for more ambitious oil and gas development off the U.S. coast.
...The Interior Department on June 28 announced its 2012-2017 offshore oil and gas leasing program that schedules 12 potential lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and three off the coast of Alaska. The White House, in its veto threat issued earlier this week, said its plan makes available for development more than 75 percent of estimated, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in U.S. oceans.
The House bill, by contrast, provides for 29 lease sales over the same five-year period, and includes areas of the Atlantic coast from Maine to Virginia, and areas off the southern coast of California as well as Alaska and Gulf areas.
In a broad appeal to U.S. voters, President Obama said Tuesday that he will open more than 75% of potential offshore oil and gas resources to exploration and, at the same time, produce enough clean energy on public land to power 3 million homes.
During his election-year State of the Union address, Obama said the nation is rapidly boosting its oil production but, with just 2% of the world's oil reserves, it needs to look at other energy sources. He said he will "take every possible action to safely develop" natural gas while requiring companies that drill on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use.
The moratorium on deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has been lifted because new safety standards will make a disastrous oil spill much less likely, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today.
Drillers must meet "the higher bar we have set" in order to get new permits, Salazar said, including written certifications by oil company executives that they have met all the safety rules. Companies must also have specific plans for dealing with any spill.
...The six-month moratorium was supposed to end on Nov. 30.
President Barack Obama moved aggressively to show his government is in charge of the Gulf oil spill on Thursday, calling the spill an "unprecedented disaster" and blasting a "scandalously close relationship" between oil companies and regulators.
Obama announced a series of new steps to deal with the aftermath of the spill, including continuing a moratorium on drilling permits for six months.
Barack Obama reversed a planned expansion of offshore drilling today, admitting he had been wrong to believe that oil companies were prepared to deal with a catastrophic oil spill.
He told a White House press conference he was ordering a six-month freeze on the opening up of the remote waters of the Arctic to oil exploration and on the drilling of 33 deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico. Proposed lease sales off the coast of Virginia and in the western Gulf would also be cancelled.
...He acknowledged that the enormity of the Gulf oil spill had forced a change in his earlier thinking that offshore drilling was safe and should remain a vital part of America's energy mix.
Sen. Barack Obama suggested he could accept an expansion of offshore oil drilling today if it is in a broader package of energy measures that would free the logjam on energy bills in Congress.
"My interest is in making sure we've got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices," Obama said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.
"If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage -- I don't want to be so rigid that we can't get something done."
Sen. Barack Obama today softened his opposition to new offshore drilling, saying in a speech at Michigan State University that he is "willing to consider" allowing additional drilling in a limited number of offshore areas if it helps Congress pass energy legislation.
...In his remarks today, Obama referred generically to a "compromise" hammered out last week by "a group of Democrat and Republican senators" in Washington, calling it "a first good step." The compromise, proposed by a bipartisan group of senators known as "the Gang of 10," would open up new acres for drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and give Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia the option of allowing drilling beyond 50 miles off their coasts.
In June 2008, Obama slammed his Republican rival John McCain (Ariz.) for his support of opening the nation’s coastline for oil exploration and drilling, calling it “political posturing” and an ineffective way to gain energy independence...
“Much like (McCain’s) gas tax gimmick that would leave consumers with pennies in savings, opening our coastlines to offshore drilling would take at least a decade to produce any oil at all, and the effect on gasoline prices would be negligible at best since America only has three percent of the world's oil.
“It's another example of short-term political posturing from Washington, not the long-term leadership we need to solve our dependence on oil,” Obama said.
The Obama administration on Tuesday announced its proposed five-year plan for offshore oil drilling, which calls for opening new areas in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska but bars development along the East and West Coasts.
...The plan, which is subject to months of public hearings and possible revisions, expands the areas in the Gulf of Mexico that are now under development, including some near Florida that have been off limits. It will also make available broader parts of the Arctic Ocean off the North Slope of Alaska and in the Cook Inlet off the state’s southern shore.
President Barack Obama...announced new measures on Saturday to expand domestic oil production in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico...
"I am directing the Department of Interior to conduct annual lease sales in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve, while respecting sensitive areas, and to speed up the evaluation of oil and gas resources in the mid and south Atlantic," Obama said in the address.
"I believe that we should expand oil production in America -- even as we increase safety and environmental standards."