A apparent change of mind by President Obama means that plans to allow offshore drilling off the southeast Atlantic coast will likely not go forward. In January 1015, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released a draft five year plan that for the first time included the possibility of awarding a drilling lease off of the southeast coast. Drilling in that area would have to be outside a 50 mile buffer area along the coast.
Despite support for the Obama proposal by the business community and governmental officials, environmentalists opposed the concept. Organizations like the Southern Environmental Law Center and 100 Miles objected to the drilling plans, saying that Georgia’s coast could be damaged should there be a significant oil spill.
The Interior Department is expected to announce today that it has reversed its plans, largely due to the opposition of the environmental community, according to a story in the New York Times. And while environmentalists applauded the decision, oil interests were less sanguine, according to the Times.
“If the Atlantic is taken out, that means there’s less of an opportunity to invest in the U.S., and those dollars will flow overseas, and we’ll hear more and more of that in the presidential election,” said Randall Luthi, president of the National Ocean Industries Association.
Update: Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson released the following statement in response to the Obama Administration:
I am disappointed that the Obama administration has decided not to expand our energy resources for Georgia and our country. The president is missing a key opportunity to open additional areas for environmentally responsible energy exploration to help our state create new jobs and make the United States more energy secure.