WASHINGTON -- He may not be adopting the Republican call to "Drill Baby Drill" -- but President Barack Obama is steering the country away from a 20-year-old ban on most offshore drilling.
Obama says his decision to clear the way for oil drilling off most U.S. shores is a compromise aimed at harnessing the nation's energy resources while also protecting its natural resources.
The president announced the change at a military base outside Washington, saying he knows environmentalists will be disappointed -- but that reversing the ban is necessary to feed the nation's appetite for energy. He says it's part of a broader strategy to move the country away from depending on fossil fuel and foreign oil.
The new policy allows oil drilling off Virginia's shoreline, and considers drilling for a big chunk of the Atlantic seaboard. The ban had limited drilling along coastal areas other than the Gulf of Mexico.