Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama is extending the moratorium on permits to drill new deepwater wells for six months, a White House official said Thursday.
Obama will be discussing a presidential commission's safety review of offshore drilling, an evaluation spurred by the deadly explosion on a Gulf of Mexico oil rig - an accident that has caused a devastating oil spill.
The official said the moratorium will continue as the commission works to "determine how to prevent this from ever happening again."
"In addition, the planned exploration off the coast of Alaska in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas will be delayed pending the commission's review and the August lease sale in the Western Gulf will be cancelled. The lease sale off the coast of Virginia will also be cancelled due to environmental concerns and concerns raised by the Defense Department," the official said.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who was directed to oversee the report, briefed Obama and senior advisers on the report Wednesday night.
According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday,57 percent of Americans favor increased off shore drilling, with 41 percent opposed. Support for increased off shore drilling dropped 17 percent from CNN polling conducted two years ago.