FREDERICKSBURG – Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) announced the ban of offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as part of the next five-year outer continental shelf (OCS) plan.

Michael Whatley, Executive Director of the Southeast Energy Alliance (SEA), a non-partisan organization that advocates for balanced and rational energy policies for the Southeast, issued this statement:

“We are extremely disappointed with the Administration’s announcement that it is going to reinstate the OCS Moratorium in the Atlantic and prohibit any potential lease sales for at least five more years.”

The people of both the Southeast and the entire nation sent a strong message in the November elections that they want the Administration to focus on job creation, economic growth and deficit reduction. Responsible offshore exploration and production in the Southeast Atlantic would create thousands of high paying jobs, add hundreds of millions of dollars to the GDP and create hundreds of billions of dollars in government revenues – and taking this off the table while the economy is still hurting and unemployment remains stubbornly high makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.”

“We strongly believe that Secretary Salazar and the Administration need to thoroughly examine what happened to cause the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil release. We support the development and implementation of new regulatory safeguards to prevent future catastrophes of this kind and to move forward with developing all energy resources – including wind, solar, oil, natural gas, biofuels, and nuclear – that this country needs.”

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