Interior chief: New drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific? Yeah, we're not doing that

And presto, there it is — the implicit veto threat I’ve been waiting for. The House Natural Resources Committee has been working on legislation that would force the Obama administration to rewrite some of the awfulness out of their 2012-2017 drilling plan; they would have to submit a new plan through 2020 expanding the permissible zones beyond the current Gulf- later on Alaska-only limitations and opening up areas in the mid-Atlantic and off of the coast of California. When asked about the possibility of a revised plan for offshore drilling during a hearing today, however, Obama’s new Interior chief didn’t demur from pretty much nixing the idea:


Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Thursday that the White House won’t allow drilling in the Atlantic Ocean while House Republicans are putting the finishing touches on legislation to do so.

“We’ve done a five-year plan — it doesn’t include the Atlantic. I don’t expect to go back on that,” Jewell told reporters Thursday after a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

President Obama’s five-year drilling plan, which runs through 2017, doesn’t offer any lease sales in Atlantic or Pacific coastal waters. A 2010 draft of his plan included Atlantic waters, but Obama pulled back on it following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill later that year. …

Jewell’s remark hints strongly that Obama would veto the bill should it ever get to his desk — but Republicans plan to forge ahead regardless.

Yes, I know all about your already-completed five-year drilling plan, and it stinks. As The Hill pointed out late last month, however, it isn’t just House Republicans floating the idea this time around. Both of the Democratic senators from Virginia have also proposed legislation that would allow for some leeway in the administration’s current plan:

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told The Hill that he doesn’t think President Obama would veto his bill to authorize oil and gas drilling off Virginia’s coast.

“I’m not expecting that there will be a challenge in the White House. Maybe I’m naïve about it, but I think our work is in this branch,” Kaine said of Congress on Thursday.

Despite Kaine’s optimism about the bill he and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced this week, the White House has given little impression that it intends to allow drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.


Optimism, indeed. There is plenty of headlining egregiousness coming out of the Obama administration’s scandalous bureaucratic abuses these days, but smaller policy decisions like this are continuing to rob struggling Americans of the opportunities that could help to create private-sector jobs and grow our still-‘recovering’ economy. Fails all around.

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John Sexton 8:40 PM on September 21, 2023