Interior issues offshore drilling plan

January 16, 2009 9:49:05 AM PST
The Interior Department has issued a detailed proposal for widespread oil and gas drilling off both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

The proposal issued in the Bush administration's final days calls for the sites to be leased within five to six years.

The draft plan would offer oil and gas development leases from New England to Florida and off the California coast - areas that for a quarter century have not had energy development and until recently were declared off limits by Congress.

It will be up to President-elect Barack Obama whether to proceed with the revised five-year leasing plan. He could scale it back or scrap it altogether.

Interior officials said the document will give the next administration maximum flexibility to expand offshore drilling.