Escalating his administration's response to the disastrous Gulf oil spill, President Barack Obama plans to announce Thursday that a moratorium on new deepwater oil drilling permits will be continued for six months while a presidential commission investigates, a White House aide said.
Controversial lease sales off the coast of Alaska will be delayed pending the results of the commission's investigation, and lease sales planned in the Western Gulf and off the coast of Virginia will be canceled, the aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of a midday Obama news conference.
Those steps, along with new oversight and safety standards, are the results of a 30-day safety review of offshore drilling conducted by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at Obama's direction. Salazar briefed Obama on its conclusions Wednesday night in the Oval Office, the aide said.
At a midday news conference, the president will direct new standards and steps to enhance safety, the aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity before the event.
The announcements come after a 30-day safety review of offshore drilling conducted by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at Obama's direction.
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