US enviro review of drilling

The US Interior Department said yesterday it will conduct a review on the environmental impact of leasing certain oil and natural gas tracts in the Gulf of Mexico as part of its next five-year drilling plan. The environmental impact statement will cover all proposed lease sales that would be held off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama during the 2012-2017 period.

The Obama administration previously pulled tracts in Florida waters and off the Atlantic Coast for future drilling because of safety concerns raised after last year’s BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.