The U.S. federal government will this week consider the process by which energy companies conduct surveys along the Atlantic Coast in what could potentially be an initial step toward offshore oil and gas leasing in Atlantic waters.
According to a Houston Chronicle report, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told a Platts energy forum that the Interior Department will send a timeline to Congress for an environmental review determining whether or not seismic studies would be allowed along the East Coast.
The department is required by federal law to weigh the environmental impacts of seismic research and will draft an official statement open for public review. Currently, geological surveys of the region are outdated by three decades.
Although Salazar clarified that these particular studies do not necessarily indicate that new drilling in the Atlantic will take place, the Interior Secretary expects to soon disclose a proposal that governs drilling in the U.S. outer continental shelf.
Recently, Virginia lawmakers have voiced support for offshore drilling in the Atlantic as a means of securing energy security for the U.S., as well as providing much-needed jobs on the domestic front.
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