A federal appeals court ruled on July 29 that new oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico can go forward as planned; clarifying a decision it issued earlier this year to block some projects initiated during the Bush Administration. An August 19 lease sale is now set for some 18 million acres covering an area projected to yield up to 423 million barrels of oil and 2.64 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Needless to say, oil industry groups are applauding the ruling. So is Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who stressed that any viable U.S. energy strategy must include some domestic production.

In a political climate where policy is so easily swayed by public opinion, CEA wants to thank all its supporters for helping to elevate our cause … and to remind them that much work remains to be done.

Oil producers are still waiting for clearance to explore Alaska’s offshore region, and the vast majority of the coastal waters in the lower 48 states remain off limits, even though a longstanding ban on offshore drilling in the country’s outer continental shelf was lifted more than a year ago.

Hopefully, the latest court ruling signals a growing commitment to end our dependence on foreign oil and create more jobs in the process.