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Apr 30, 2010 12:18 AM by Jim Hummel

Crude Disaster; Possible Impacts on Expansion of Offshore Drilling

The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico could have President Obama rethinking recent plans to increase offshore oil drilling. This as the oil slick inches closer and closer to the U.S. coast.

"I have never seen anything like this in my years of being in the industry, it's a catastrophe," said Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association.

Briggs says the incident is a catastrophe not only because of the loss of life and environmental impacts, but possibly for the expansion of offshore drilling as well.

"The opponents to drilling, which there are plenty of, they're jumping on this bandwagon, this will be their stage to fight their fight against drilling," Briggs said.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the cause of the oil rig explosion, still not determined, could affect what areas the government would open for future drilling.

The climate change bill may not be debated by congress for several months; it's been overshadowed in recent weeks by immigration legislation.

Jim Hummel

Material from the Associated Press was included in this report.

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