The top executive of the American Petroleum Institute expressed surprise at the Obama administration's decision today to pull back its expanded offshore-drilling policy and disputed comments made by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that indicated the oil and gas industry will be able to continue to develop offshore.
"The announcement today is one of great disappointment, frankly a surprise, a reversal of position based on where the president was in just March," API President and CEO Jack Gerard told National Journal shortly after the announcement.
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In light of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Salazar today retreated on policy President Obama announced before the disaster that expanded offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Eastern Seaboard.
"The plan we announced in March was based on our best science at the time," Salazar told reporters on a conference call. "There has been significant additional information that has been gained since April 20 until now."
Salazar announced today that areas in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, which remain under a congressional moratorium, and the Mid- and South-Atlantic areas off the Eastern Seaboard will no longer be considered for development through 2017. The Western and Central parts of the Gulf of Mexico and three areas in Alaska, the Cook Inlet and Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in the Arctic, will continue to be considered for potential leasing before 2017, Salazar said.