Washington: The Obama administration has decided against allowing offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, in a reversal of a decision made nine months ago, US officials said.
The ban would protect the Florida coast after it was threatened by drifting crude oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon drill explosion earlier this year. Most deepwater drilling in the Gulf concentrates in the central and western areas, off the Louisiana and Texas coasts.
Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar announced the decision as part of the next five-year drilling plan. The administration reversed the policy in response to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that began in April and leaked for months.
One month before the spill, Obama had announced he would lift a decades-long moratorium on drilling and exploration in some off-shore areas that had been off limits, in an effort to help meet future energy needs.