Obama Pretty Much Shuts Down Offshore Drilling In Alaska

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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The Obama administration announced new safety regulations Thursday that would place extremely strict limits on offshore drilling for oil and natural gas off the coast of Alaska.

The New York Times reported the regulations, finalized by the Department of the Interior, are seen as intended to reduce investment and harm energy production in the region. The New York Times stated that the rules are “the latest in a series of Obama administration rules designed to slow the extraction of fossil fuels from American public lands and waters.”

The rules impose extremely strict safety and environmental standards on any potential drilling, which will likely mean that the energy resources off the coast of Alaska will never be tapped.

“The Obama administration issues rule after rule under the guise of environmental protection or safety, but in reality their objective is to keep our resources in the ground,” Thomas Pyle, the president of the pro-industry Institute for Energy Research, wrote in a statement emailed to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This rule is no different, as it’s designed to make the cost of doing business so expensive that companies can’t economically produce our Arctic energy resources.”

Environmental groups praised Obama’s new rules but called on the administration to halt Arctic drilling entirely. Greens vehemently criticized the president late last year over plans to open Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas to new drilling.

“No other country goes to such great lengths to prevent companies from producing oil and gas in the Arctic,” Pyle continued. “The administration’s keep-it-in-the-ground agenda isn’t about safety, the climate, or protecting the environment. It’s about limiting job opportunities, preventing economic growth, and making energy more expensive for the American people.”

The Beaufort and Chukchi Seas contain an estimated 23.6 billion barrels of oil and 104.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Developing offshore drilling is supported by 73 percent of Alaskans, according to a 2014 poll. Studies by industry groups estimate that offshore drilling would create 840,000 American jobs and nearly $200 billion in revenue for the government by 2035.

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