"There just isn't much oil out there," said Jackie Savitz of the environmental group Oceana. "Even opening up all U.S. coasts to drilling won't lower the price of gas more than a few cents per gallon, and not until 2030."
The industry has questioned the oil and gas estimates, which they say are based on decades-old seismic studies. They said advanced testing techniques will likely discover more reserves.
McDonnell has argued the administration should at least allow testing.
Jewell's nomination must be approved by the Senate.
Steve Szkotak can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sszkotakap .
Associated Press writers Seanna Adcox in Columbia, S.C., and Emery P. Dalesio in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.