Obama hopeful to end drilling moratorium before six months

The Obama administration is hopeful that it can allow offshore drilling to go forward before its six-month moratorium is up.

Carol Browner, the president's top environmental advisor, said that President Barack Obama is hoping that the independent commission he had appointed to investigate the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is able to generate solutions as quickly as possible to recommend how to drill safely in deep water.

"We certainly hope so, but it is an independent commission," Browner said during an appearance on CNN of whether the administration expects solutions on drilling safer quickly, leading to them ending a moratorium on drilling more quickly than expected.

"They have indicated that they may issue reports along the way, and we certainly hope they do," she said.

The president announced a six-month moratorium on new drilling starts in deep Gulf waters following the massive oil spill from BP-leased pipelines off the coast of Louisiana.

But Obama has come under pressure from members of his own party in recent days to lift the ban. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said Thursday that the ban on new drilling starts could exacerbate the negative economic impact for BP workers as a result of the spill.

Browner defended the administration's position, saying that it would work to balance the economic and environmental positions on the issue.

"We understand that oil is an important part of our economy. We want a different energy future, but in the near term we understand that," she said during an appearance on Fox News. "So what we want is to make sure that we have done everything to ensure the safety of those operations, and that our environment is protected.

"We understand the economic impacts of this, but we also understand the environmental impacts of the worst environmental disaster in the history of our country," Browner added.