Drilling woes years away

Offshore ban may lapse, but environmental review will hold back oil companies

Environmentalists decried the end to a 26-year ban on offshore oil drilling, but any fears about the impacts of actual drilling are a long way off.

Congress appears to be allowing the federal ban to expire, but experts on both sides of the debate say it’s likely to take years for oil companies to secure the leases necessary for costly exploration and recovery.

The primary reason is attributed to the Mineral Management Service, the agency that regulates offshore drilling, and whose officials say they will need a couple of years at minimum to conduct public hearings and environmental reviews, reported CNN.

And depending on the outcome of the presidential election, the ban could be back in place in a few short months.