Prospecting cleared

Published: Tuesday 15 July 2003

Steamrollering objections from lawmakers of various coastal states, the us senate recently approved a plan to survey oil and natural gas deposits beneath the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Even as supporters of the idea claim the country has a right to know the extent and nature of its energy reserves in the event of a crisis, critics fear it could render redundant a long-standing ban on new offshore drilling. Significantly, the legislation would require the interior department to report on potential energy reserves beneath the oceans as well as on the "impediments" to their extraction.

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