President Barack Obama has lifted a ban on offshore oil drilling, allowing for drilling off the coast of Virginia and part of the southern Atlantic coastline
, according to reports by BusinessWeek.

"I want to emphasize that this announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies on homegrown fuels and clean energy," Obama said. "And the only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and the long term. To fail to recognize this reality would be a mistake."

The move reverses a ban of offshore oil drilling in areas other than the Gulf of Mexico. That policy was in place for more than 20 years, the Associated Press reports.

The President's announcement also included protecting planned oil drilling sites in Alaska, including the state's Bristol Bay.