In recent weeks, the Obama administration has shifted its attitude toward offshore drilling in the Atlantic. Previously focusing on tough safeguards, the White House is relaxing its policies. In the past, the administration placed potential barriers to more drilling for oil and natural gas. Generally considered a pro-environment and pro-clean energy White House, the administration exercised great caution after the 2010 BP oil spill. Obama also targeted lax oil company tax breaks.

Now, Obama’s policies are slightly more favorable to big business and oil, although the administration claims that the changes in attitude are still very earth-friendly. The relaxing of policy is actually part of a previous plan called the Energy Security Trust Fund and aims to grow green energy opportunities. Still advertising the changes as eco-conscious makes it attractive to lawmakers as well.

What does this mean for oil companies?

The change in policy opens up new areas for sonic cannons. These cutting-edge pieces of technology fire huge sound waves that bounce off the bottom of the ocean and return signals to researchers. This data is saved by computers and converted into three-dimensional drawing of the sea floor. The drawings are then used to pinpoint ideal areas for drilling oil and gas.

What does this mean for the economy?

With the President’s permission, oil and gas companies can expand operations in the southern Atlantic, from Delaware to Florida. This is obviously good for these big businesses, but drilling can also help boost local state economies. More drilling improves the national energy industry and decreases U.S. dependence on foreign oil and gas. It also brings new jobs to the country.

Naturally, some states might want to put in place their own drilling restrictions. Ocean communities don’t want drilling eyesores swallowing up their revenue from seaside tourists.

What does this mean for you?

As a consumer interested in competitive energy rates, the increase in drilling could be good news. More gas and oil available in the country could mean lower gas and oil rates. After all, rates tend to shrink when there’s an increase in energy supply.

However, Obama’s usual environmentalist supporters are unhappy with the new development. They remain unconvinced that existing safeguards will prevent another disaster like the BP spill. While stricter standards and greater fines than those in 2010 are now in place, using the sonic cannons alone is a major blow to the ocean’s delicate environment. The cannons blast, disorient and disturb the sea life. If you’re unhappy with an increase in offshore drilling, write to your local congressman, expressing your concerns.

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