Oil group's offshore drilling call
Published 05/01/2011 | 11:12
The Obama administration should reconsider its decision not to pursue offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or along the nation's east coast, the oil industry's chief trade group has said.
Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said the group will press politicians and administration officials to expand drilling along the Atlantic coast and in Alaska. If agreement cannot be reached, Mr Gerard said he would back calls by some congressional Republicans to mandate expanded drilling.
President Barack Obama's decision last month reversed an earlier plan to expand drilling. It was prompted by the Gulf explosion and oil spill in which 11 workers died last April.
The decision "sends job creation elsewhere and closes the door on economic growth", Mr Gerard warned as the group released its annual "State of American Energy" report.
Kendra Barkoff, a spokeswoman for interior secretary Ken Salazar, said the change in position was based on lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and ensures that offshore exploration can go forward in areas where active leases already exist.
"We remain focused on raising the bar for safety and environmental protection in offshore drilling, while also continuing to take aggressive steps to strengthen the agency responsible for overseeing offshore energy production," she said.