As expected, the Obama administration is opening the waters off the East Coast to oil and gas exploration, approving a plan on Friday to allow seismic tests from Delaware to Florida’s Cape Canaveral.
The decision is a first step toward what could be the first Atlantic offshore drilling in decades, with the energy industry mostly interested in waters off Virginia and the Carolinas.
The industry is going to use seismic air guns to find out how much oil and gas lies along the Atlantic seabed. There’s sharp debate over the use of the air guns, which environmental groups and some members of Congress say deafen whales and dolphins.
The Interior Department endorsed the plan in February. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management made it official on Friday by issuing the record of decision to start considering applications from companies that want to explore.