Interior Department to issue more permits for shallow water drilling in near future

An Interior Department official says the government is expected soon to issue more permits for drilling in shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The decision would not affect the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling imposed in the aftermath of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

While drilling in shallow waters was not part of the moratorium, there has been confusion about whether new permits will be approved for shallow water leases. Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes told a House hearing that he expects more shallow water drilling applications to be approved as they are received.