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Obama Admin Reverses Decision to Allow Drilling in Eastern Gulf

"stronger safety and environmental standards"

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The Blaze/AP) — President Barack Obama's administration won't allow any new oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico for at least the next seven years because of the BP oil spill.

A senior administration official told The Associated Press on Wednesday that drilling leases won't be considered in the waters off Florida as part of the change. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision hadn't been announced yet.

He said that because of the BP spill, the administration now understands the need to elevate safety and environmental standards. Before the spill, the administration had considered a plan to allow drilling in the eastern Gulf.

According to the New York Times, drilling would remain under a moratorium "until stronger safety and environmental standards were in place."

Drilling can continue in the central and western Gulf, however only under a set of new safeguards that were put in place after April's BP oil spill.

The decision reverses a decision in March to open up more of the Gulf to offshore drilling.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to discuss the decision later Wednesday afternoon.

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