"The Interior Department, preoccupied with its response to the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, said Wednesday that it was pushing back the date of public hearings on the administration’s plan, announced before the disaster began, to expand offshore drilling.
The department said on Wednesday that more extensive environmental and safety reviews were needed before moving ahead with any new leasing decisions.
The process was to have begun with public hearings in Alaska, along the Gulf Coast and the southern Atlantic Coast in June and early July. Those hearings have now been put off until later in the year, the department said in a statement. No new dates were given."