Obama floats offering first-ever drilling lease in Atlantic
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is proposing to open up drilling off a broad swath of the Atlantic Coast for the first time, even as it restricts drilling off Alaska.
The plan, unveiled Tuesday, envisions auctioning areas off Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia to oil companies come 2021. That means it would not come to fruition until years after President Barack Obama left office.
The proposal also would place parts of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in Alaska off-limits to drilling in 2017-2022, citing their important to Alaska natives and sensitive environmental resources.
Obama in early 2010 announced his intention to allow drilling 50 miles off the coast of Virginia, only to scrap it after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.