Drill, baby, drill? Not just yet

The administration says it will hold off on implementing President Bush's plan to expand offshore oil drilling.

By Alex Koppelman

Published February 10, 2009 7:40PM (EST)

The Obama administration won't allow an expansion of offshore oil drilling -- at least not yet.

Last year, both Congress and the Bush administration moved to lift a moratorium on new drilling. But the Interior Department would have to approve the expansion, and would be in charge of doling out new leases. President Bush left behind a plan for that, but new Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Tuesday that he's putting it on hold for now.

"To establish an orderly process that allows us to make wise decisions based on sound information, we need to... create our own timeline," Salazar said in explaining the move. "I intend to issue a final rulemaking ... in the coming months, so that potential developers know the rules of the road. This rulemaking will allow us to move from the 'oil and gas only' approach of the previous administration to the comprehensive energy plan that we need."

It is possible that there could be drilling authorized down the road, as part of a larger energy plan.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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