In reversal, Obama admin. to block oil drilling in Atlantic

In this photo taken Dec. 18, 2015, President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the briefing room at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major reversal, the Obama administration says it will not allow oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell made the announcement Tuesday on Twitter, declaring that the administration’s next five-year offshore drilling plan “protects the Atlantic for future generations.”

The announcement reverses a proposal made last year in which the administration floated a plan that would have opened up a broad swath of the Atlantic Coast to drilling. The January 2015 proposal would have opened up sites more than 50 miles off Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia to oil drilling no earlier than 2021.

The Interior Department said the latest decision responds to strong local opposition and conflicts with competing commercial and military ocean uses.

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