Obama to Remake Drilling Policies

"Opening up sensitive areas to production that we don't need to extends our addiction to oil, doesn't end our addiction to oil," Warren said.

But groups generally accept the political need for further domestic oil exploration. And after eight years of an administration that pushed aggressively for more production -- not to mention a campaign in which drilling literally became a campaign slogan -- Obama's fresh approach has been welcomed in some quarters.

"What this administration and the Department of Energy have said is, 'Everyone take a deep breath. Let's really think about what needs to be done and for America's energy future,'" Warren said. "We now can have a reasonable political conversation about what the science tells us what should be done."

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