Offshore Drilling Halted

By Libby Casey

The Obama Administration will announce today that offshore drilling in the Arctic is on-hold.

That means Shell’s plans to drill off Alaska’s coasts this summer will be postponed until at least next year.  President Obama is expected to address offshore issues at a news conference today, and talk about the fallout from last month’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Interior Secretary Salazar has prepared a thirty-day report for the President, which he’ll deliver today and is expected to make a variety of recommendations.

Senator Mark Begich’s office issued a statement last night expressing frustration with the Administration’s decision to half offshore work in Alaska.  He says the Gulf of Mexico accident should mean stronger oversight, but that Shell has made an “effective case” for safe exploration this summer.

Environmental groups have been battling to stop Shell, saying a spill in the icy, remote waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas would be far harder to clean up than the Gulf of Mexico, and disastrous to wildlife and subsistence lifestyles.


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