NOAA recommends scaling back coastal drilling plans listen10/12/09 SeÃ¡n Kinane
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The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends dramatically scaling back a Bush-era plan to drill for oil and natural gas of the coasts of America. Thatâ€™s according to a letter released today on the website of PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
If accepted, the Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2010-2015.pdf) issued in January would offer twelve large lease areas in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic and Pacific continental shelves.
But on September 21st, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere wrote to the director of the Interior Departmentâ€™s Minerals Management Service, questioning the scale of the proposed drilling. The letter says, quote, â€œThere are numerous sensitive hardbottom habitats along the west Florida shelf from Panama City to the Dry Tortugas.â€
WMNF spoke today to Jeff Ruch, executive director of PEER.
â€œFor the most part, for environmental reasons: that they contain key fish resources, there are wildlife migratory corridors, as well as the lack of preparation for avoiding and responding to oil spills.â€
The drilling policy will ultimately be determined by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.