Interior Department plan will include more Gulf, Alaska leases

The Obama administration on Tuesday is set to release its first five-year offshore drilling plan, opening up the Beaufort, Chukchi seas, the Cook Inlet off the coast of Alaska as well as more areas in the Gulf of Mexico, sources familiar with the announcement told National Journal.

By expanding drilling in the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, where drilling is already ongoing, but not aggressively opening up other areas such as the Atlantic Ocean, President Obama is striking a delicate balance of trying to appease drilling proponents but avoiding the ire of environmentalists and drilling opponents.

Still, environmentalists are sure to question the opening of the Arctic, as Coast Guard officials and others have often warned the area is not prepared for an offshore oil spill. Meanwhile, drilling proponents are sure to find that the plan is too limited.

The Interior Department's plan is set to be released at noon on Tuesday

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