Obama Administration Refocusing on Resources

New five-year plan for oil and gas exploration.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he will revamp the process for writing a new five-year plan for oil and gas exploration on the outer continental shelf. He will also consider proposals for offshore wind farms alongside plans for new drilling. The shelf generally extends three to 200 miles from the U.S. coast. The plan must be in place by 2012.

The Secretary says the Interior Department will extend the public-comment period for the new plan, which had been scheduled to close March 23, by 180 days. But he also said the administration will look for other energy generating technology such that might use waves or tides.

He said he did not know how a new five-year plan would affect the prospect of natural gas drilling off Virginia, which is allowed under the plan in force now. Under the current plan, the government could auction leases to explore off Virginia as early as 2011.

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