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The 26-year-long congressional ban on offshore energy development is no more. With President Bush’s signature on a moratorium-free spending bill, the long-standing policy of locking away resources off America’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts has finally been cast aside.
After several months of political wrangling amid rising energy prices and public clamoring for increased offshore drilling, Congress was left with no choice but to let the moratorium expire. But long-time drilling opponents warn that the victory may only be temporary, vowing to reinstate the ban - in some form - when the new Congress and new president gather in Washington next year.
So the question for the offshore energy industry is: Where do we go from here?
There are five key areas in which action must be taken in the next year to ensure that the progress made on increasing access in 2008 translates into enduring opportunities for domestic offshore energy development.
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