Obama Backs Oil Drilling Along Atlantic Seaboard

President Barack Obama says he's expanding offshore oil drilling along the Atlantic coast, arguing that America must break its dependency on foreign oil and rely more on "homegrown fuels and clean energy."

Obama chose Andrews air base on the outskirts of Washington for his announcement, telling a military audience "this is not a decision that I've made lightly."

The move reverses longstanding government policy. Obama is allowing drilling along a large portion of Virginia's shoreline and is considering it for a large chunk of the Atlantic seaboard. He said "there will be those who strongly disagree," but pledged that it will be done "in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect Americas's natural resources."

The government will now allow oil drilling 50 miles off the North Carolina coast.

The move reverses longstanding government policy that banned most offshore drilling except in the Gulf of Mexico.

The President stated energy security in our nation must be established and claims his plan will not only save energy but also tax-payer dollars.

But some of those against the measure say it's not just because of what a spill could mean for wildlife.

Senator Mark Basnight said he is for offshore drilling as long as protections for coastal residents are in place in case of a spill.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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President Barack Obama plans to announce that the government will allow oil drilling 50 miles off the North Carolina shoreline but will reject some proposed drilling sites in Alaska.

Obama scheduled an announcement Wednesday at Andrews air base near Washington. In the speech, he is set to discuss why he is changing the policy, more than 20 years old, that bans most offshore drilling except in the Gulf of Mexico.

The president also is set to announce that proposed oil leases in Alaska's Bristol Bay will be canceled. The Interior Department is reversing last year's decision to open up parts of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

Obama's plan will leave in place the drilling moratorium off the West Coast.

Although Obama makes no mention of North Carolina's coast, it's continually being discussed by our state government. The New York Times reports the areas being opened up from mid-Florida, north to Delaware.

In September, Gov. Beverly Perdue formed a committee, Governor's Scientific Advisory Panel on Offshore Energy, to study offshore drilling in North Carolina.

Perdue says she wanted help with identifying wind and sun energy options off the coast and whether drilling could harm the state's tourist industry and ecology.

Perdue said initially during the 2008 campaign she was opposed to drilling but later said she would be open to it if it's considered safe.

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