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US aide seeks study on offshore drilling

Associated Press / January 26, 2010

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WASHINGTON - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he is nearly ready to begin an environmental analysis that could lead to drilling in areas up to 200 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean.

Salazar told reporters he will soon launch a 45-day comment period on a planned study of how drilling would affect the ocean floor. He said federal officials know little about the Atlantic Coast because of a longstanding moratorium on oil and gas exploration on much of the nation’s outer continental shelf. Congress lifted the moratorium in 2008.

Information on the possible effect of Atlantic drilling “is 30 years out of date,’’ Salazar said yesterday. He said that six companies have filed applications to do more seismic exploration in the Atlantic and that three others have indicated interest.