The Obama administration abandoned its plan for oil and gas drilling in Atlantic waters on Tuesday.

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3/18/2016 2:56:10 PM

Good News Friday {Oil Exploration Ban in Atlantic}

Last June, we wrote about how drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean was the wrong activity in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

At PBI we recognize that the greatest threat to polar bears is sea ice loss from global warming mainly due to burning fossil fuels. Although oil and gas are likely to remain an important part of human life for some time to come, our main focus must be to reduce their use rather than race helter-skelter to bring new reserves into production.  

This week, the good news is, as The Guardian reported, "The Obama administration abandoned its plan for oil and gas drilling in Atlantic waters on Tuesday, after strong opposition from the Pentagon and coastal communities."

Concerns from coastal communities and the Navy played into the decision.

"We heard from many corners that now is not the time to offer oil and gas leasing off the Atlantic coast," Sally Jewell, the U.S. interior secretary said. "When you factor in conflicts with national defense, economic activities such as fishing and tourism, and opposition from many local communities, it simply doesn't make sense to move forward with lease sales in the coming five years."

Banning oil exploration in the Atlantic may be a harbinger for banning oil exploration elsewhere. While there is still a possibility the U.S. will allow drilling in the Arctic Ocean, in the future, it seems less and less likely.

"We know the Arctic is a unique place of critical importance to many - including Alaska Natives who rely on the ocean for subsistence," Jewell said. "We want to hear from the public to help determine whether these areas are appropriate for future leasing and how we can protect environmental, cultural and subsistence resources." 

Read more: Obama bans oil drilling along Atlantic seaboard

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