Obama Administration Lifts Moratorium on Offshore Drilling
October 13, 2010
The Obama administration, under heavy pressure from the oil industry and Gulf States, lifted the moratorium that it imposed in April, reports the Associated Press. The ban had been scheduled to expire Nov. 30, but Interior Secretary Ken Salazar moved up the deadline, saying new rules have strengthened safety and reduced the risk of another catastrophic blowout that caused more than 200 million gallons of crude to spew from BP''s well a mile beneath the Gulf. A federal report said the prohibition likely caused a temporary loss of 8,000 to 12,000 jobs in the Gulf region and drilling is unlikely to resume for at least a few weeks. Salazar emphasized the move would include new requirements for those seeking to drill exploratory wells. Those entities and the companies they represent will have to prove they have the appropriate steps in place to contain a worst-case scenario spill. The new rules include many recommendations made in a report Salazar released in May, including requirements that rigs certify they have working blowout preventers — the emergency cutoff equipment designed to contain a major spill — and standards for cementing wells. The cement process and blowout preventer both failed to work as expected in the BP spill.