TIMES ONLINE: President Obama will today announce plans to open huge swaths of the US coastline to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time.
The affected areas include 167 million acres (259,000 square miles) of ocean along the vast Atlantic coastline as well as eastern parts of the Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska.
The proposals, which Mr Obama is due to announce later today at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington in scheduled remarks on "energy security", are designed to reduce America's dependence on imported oil.
But The New York Times said it was far from clear whether they would achieve their more immediate political aim: winning crucial Republican support for energy and climate change legislation due to go before the Senate in the next few weeks.
"While Mr Obama has staked out middle ground on other environmental matters — supporting nuclear power, for example — the sheer breadth of the offshore drilling decision will take some of his supporters aback," the newspaper reported.
"And it is no sure thing that it will win support for a climate bill from undecided senators close to the oil industry, like Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, or Mary L Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana."
The proposals would end a longstanding moratorium on East Coast exploration for natural resources, a move that would please oil companies but is likely to outrage environmental groups and residents of coastal areas. >>> Times Online | Wednesday, March 31, 2010
THE NEW YORK TIMES: Obama to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for First Time >>> John M. Broder | Tuesday, March 30, 2010