ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Restricting oil and gas development in U.S. waters is a "major setback" in the effort to ease dependence on foreign resources, a trucking advocate complained.
Washington imposed a temporary ban on offshore drilling to make sure safeguards were in place to prevent a repeat of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar earlier this year said Washington had decided it was "appropriate" to lift the moratorium on deep-water drilling, however.
Nevertheless, Salazar announced last week that parts of the eastern gulf and Atlantic Ocean are no longer under consideration for exploitation through 2017.
Rich Moskowitz, vice president for the American Trucking Association, said the actions by Salazar dealt a blow to consumers and the U.S. workforce.
"Restricting offshore exploration is a major setback for our nation's quest toward reducing our dependence on foreign energy sources," he said in a statement. "Limiting access to domestic oil jeopardizes the efficiency of our supply chain, our economic health and ultimately harms American consumers."
Simon Henry, chief financial officer at Royal Dutch Shell, said in October that gulf production from his company was 10,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day lower than it would have been without the moratorium.