With all eyes on the ongoing battle over whether or not the Obama Administration and the State Department will approve the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline, it was easy to lose another huge piece of news in the scuffle pertaining to the Obama White House.
On October 3, the Obama Interior Department rubber stamped approval for offshore drilling in the Arctic off the northwest coast of Alaska in the Chibucki Sea. Reported the Wall Street Journal:
The Obama administration said Monday it was moving forward with oil-drilling leases off the coast of Alaska issued by the Bush administration in 2008, a victory for oil companies in the battle over Arctic Ocean drilling.
The Interior Department's decision is the latest example of the Obama administration siding with energy companies against environmentalists amid a weak economy. Last month, President Barack Obama withdrew proposed ozone-emission rules that businesses said would have killed jobs.
According to an Alaska Dispatch story, the area that received drilling approval is 2.8 million acres and companies bid $2.6 billion in an auction for drilling rights, with fossil fuel conglomerates Shell and ConocoPhillips leading the way. The Associated Press (AP) wrote, “Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc…spent $2.1 billion for the leases in 2008.”