Obama to allow OCS leasing off East Coast

US President Barack Obama and Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar have disclosed plans to include waters off the East Coast south of New Jersey in future sales of Outer Continental Shelf leases.

Following is a developing story that will be updated later today.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Mar. 31
-- US President Barack Obama and Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar have disclosed plans to include waters off the East Coast south of New Jersey in future sales of Outer Continental Shelf leases.

Their plan expands leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico at least 125 miles off the Florida coast and allows sale of leases off Virginia to proceed under the current 5-year plan. Other areas off the southern and middle Atlantic states might be included in lease sales after 2012.

The plan prevents leasing in Bristol Bay off Alaska and delays leasing until after 2012 in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, where planned sales have been under legal challenge.

Obama and Salazar didn’t address the issue of revenue sharing by coastal states or funding for environmental analyses required before leasing.

Flanked by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Carol Browner, the administration’s energy and climate change adviser, Obama said, “I want to emphasize that this announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies on homegrown fuels and clean energy.”

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