White House defends offshore drilling plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House defended its offshore oil drilling plan on Thursday, in the wake of the disastrous BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and said any drilling plan would be assessed thoroughly to minimize risk before going ahead.

“The administration’s offshore oil and gas plan proposes a thoughtful, scientifically grounded process for determining which new areas on the outer continental shelf are appropriate for exploration and development, and for assessing the potential risks and benefits of development in areas that are being explored,” the White House said in a statement.

The White House said it would work closely with members of Congress and state governors in any process to open up a new area for offshore drilling.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, editing by Ross Colvin