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New federal offshore drilling plans are coming

The Obama administration’s new five-year offshore drilling plan is expected to be unveiled Tuesday, according to the Washington Examiner. Though the initial plan will be a draft, the final version will be effective starting in 2017 and apply through 2022.

The plan is expected to address drilling in Alaska and the Atlantic Ocean. In particular, the Washington Examiner reports that it could allow oil and gas exploration drilling off Alaska’s coastline and allow drilling in the U.S. waters of the Atlantic Ocean for the first time since the 1980s.

The industry has speculated that while the plan is purported to allow exploration in the Arctic, it will also disrupt the leasing process, which could discourage activity in the region. However, Obama’s announcement aiming to allot 12.3 Alaskan acres as a wilderness area may have affected some changes in the plan. Until Tuesday’s potential announcement, though, it’s impossible to say.

In related news, Obama seeks bigger wilderness designation in Alaska refuge.