With all of the hullabaloo surrounding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the government’s lackluster performance in responding to that crisis, U.S. regulatory agencies have waved the yellow flag in allowing new offshore drilling in the Arctic.

In polls of voters, meanwhile, support for offshore drilling is slipping, especially drilling in the environmentally fragile Arctic. –JCL

Los Angeles Times:

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is making it clear that he’s in no hurry to open the door to new exploratory oil and gas drilling in the offshore Arctic — not, he said, until more is known about the potential pitfalls.

Winding up a two-day trip to Alaska’s North Slope that included a town hall in Barrow, a stop at the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, and a flight over the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, Salazar said reports on what caused the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico will have to be in before Shell Alaska can be allowed to commence drilling new wells off Alaska’s northern shores.

That may or may not happen in time for the oil company to begin operations in time for next summer’s drilling season, he added.

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