Breaking: Ban on Offshore Drilling is Back! Sort of.


Photo: eschipul, Flickr, CC BY-SA

President Obama can't seem to make up his mind about banning offshore drilling -- does he want a drilling moratorium in place or not? Now, it once again looks like he does -- sort of, anyway. The White House is announcing today that the administration plans on maintaining most of the initial ban. Certain waters will be kept off limits, though some will still be opened for drilling. Here's where we stand now.The entire year has been full of twists and turns on the subject of offshore drilling: First, during his State of the Union speech, Obama announced that as a compromise to Republicans, he was opening up a large swath of previously forbidden waters up for offshore drilling. Then, the Deepwater Horizon blew. The offshore drilling moratorium was announced. Then, a federal judge overturned it. The Obama administration fought it. When the midterm elections came round, the administration lifted the ban itself.

Now, it's back on -- partly. Here's the Washington Post:

Obama administration officials will announce Wednesday afternoon they will not allow offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as part of the next five-year drilling plan, according to sources briefed on the plan, reversing two key policy changes President Obama announced in late March.
So it looks like that last move to lift the offshore drilling moratorium was pretty much a political stunt aimed at helping moderate Democrats who were under siege by opponents who claimed that the drilling ban was hurting the economy. Not that it did much good anyway, judging by the results of the midterms elections ...

Anyhow, the new drilling outline bans operations from the eastern Gulf, the Pacific coast, and the Atlantic. For now, anyways -- expect pro-drilling folks to begin outraged protests any minute now.

A Brief History of Banning Offshore Drilling in 2010
Obama to Expand Offshore Drilling in Alaska, Gulf of Mexico, More
Obama to Ban Deepwater Drilling for Six Months
Judge Strikes Down Obama's Offshore Drilling Ban
Breaking: Obama to Lift Offshore Drilling Moratorium

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