In a partial reversal of the decision to reopen the Gulf of Mexico to oil exploration, the Obama administration has decided to leave in place a moratorium on drilling in the eastern portion of the Gulf and along the Atlantic Seaboard. The administration expects the ban to stay in place for at least seven years while stronger safety and environmental protections are put in place. Drilling will be allowed in the central and western Gulf under new safeguards instituted in the wake of the BP spill. The Obama administration placed a moratorium on all deep-sea drilling in May following the spill, but lifted the ban in October. Drilling in the eastern Gulf and along the Atlantic Coast was long banned due to congressional opposition, and the areas were only opened to exploration in March, just weeks before the spill.