News In Brief

US plans a slight ease-up in scope of coastal drilling

US Interior Secretary William Clark outlined a plan Thursday that could cut back some of James Watt's massive program to lease virtually the entire United States coastline for offshore oil and gas exploration.

But he emphasized his program does not alter the Reagan administration's basic policy of ''expeditiously'' exploring the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf, and Alaskan Coasts for oil and gas.

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His plan focuses on screening out offshore areas that offer little energy potential or may not be suitable for drilling because of fishing interests or environmental and scenic concerns.

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