October 12th, 2010
01:20 PM ET

Obama administration lifts deepwater drilling moratorium

The Obama administration is lifting the moratorium on deepwater oil drilling that was put in place after the Gulf oil disaster, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday.

Salazar and the new head of the government agency overseeing offshore drilling, Michael Bromwich, were scheduled to hold a 1 p.m.
news conference on the issue.

Salazar suspended certain deepwater drilling activities on July 12 under the premise that certain deepwater drilling posed a threat to the marine, coastal, and human environment.

Since then, Salazar has determined that deepwater oil and gas drilling can resume provided that operators certify compliance with all existing rules and requirements, including those that recently went into effect, the Department of Interior said in a press release.

Members of industry must also demonstrate the availability of adequate blowout containment resources, the department said.

“We have more work to do in our reform agenda, but at this point we believe the strengthened safety measures we have implemented, along with improved spill response and blowout containment capabilities, have reduced risks to a point where operators who play by the rules and clear the higher bar can be allowed to resume," Salazar said. 

" The oil and gas industry will be operating under tighter rules, stronger oversight, and in a regulatory environment that will remain dynamic as we continue to build on the reforms we have already implemented.”

Salazar reached the decision after reviewing a report by Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich and considering other information on the progress of offshore oil and gas safety reforms, availability of spill response resources, and improved blowout containment capabilities, the agency said.

In his decision today, Secretary Salazar directs BOEM to require the following before approving deepwater drilling: 

- Members of industry must be subject to written and enforceable obligations that ensure containment resources are immediately available in the event of a deepwater blowout, regardless of the company or operator involved.  The Department of the Interior has a process underway regarding the establishment of a mechanism relating to the availability of blowout containment resources, and Secretary Salazar said he expects that this mechanism will be implemented in the near future. 

- The CEO of each operator seeking to perform deepwater drilling certify to BOEM that the operator has complied with all regulations, including the new drilling safety rules.

Read the full story on CNN.com.

soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Takara

    Can't make anyone happy. Keep the bans, the right is mad. Lift the bans, the left is mad. This is our country; this is democracy. You have to meet in the middle somewhere. People need to just quit fighting and wishing death on people, and instead, actually WORK with people. (Seriously, a president is only doing what they think is best for the country, why would someone want to run it into the ground? What one person thinks is good may not be what others think and that needs to be accepted.) If it works, it works, if it doesn't, then we can try a different route.

    October 12, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dean

    Pure politics. Weight was given as to what decision would give Democrats more votes, not only in the Gulf states but nationwide. Obama has no shame. He's a one-trick pony and his schtick will not work for him now or in 2012. If anyone treated me the way he has treated this country, I'd take him outside and beat the crap out of him.

    Vote Republican.

    October 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patty Chaney

      "Go, DEAN, Go! We just need to beat 'em in November and 2012 !!!

      October 12, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • LucyRicky

      Dean you nailed it!! But Republicans better pay attention to the electorate this time. They better not get in and start playing silly games or we will vote them out next time!! We finally have TERM LIMITS – VOTE THE BUMS OUT OF OFFICE!! Vote Republican or Independent in November!!

      October 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. xhanay

    if we destroy the world quicker, that means we'll all die sooner. so drill baby drill.

    October 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. snownut

    Sigmund....your hatred that you spew shows your idiocy....
    What a shame.

    October 12, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    This is too late, most of the drilling rigs have been removed to drill else where. They will not be back.

    October 12, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • mudbone9

      Sooner or later they will be back. Your point is understood though and highlights the need for international laws to regulate the oil companies. If they are given free reign to trash the coasts of other countries it will even be longer before they return.

      October 12, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mudbone9

    I just hope they follow through and force the oil companies to properly fill the thousands of holes they have already drilled in the gulf. They are an ecological nightmare in them selves. Anyone see the article on all the drilling platforms and billions of dollars its going to take the British government to decommission the drilling platforms in the North Sea? I am glad that drilling will now continue in the Gulf but the government needs to make sure that the oil companies clean up after themselves as they go. If they drill a well they should leave the site as close as they can to what it was before they started.

    October 12, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kyle

    Here we go with the madness once again. Have we not learned from the deepwater horizon disaster yet?

    October 12, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Redeye Dog

    You can bet the US economy has lost BIG contracts to other countries, as a result to the moratorium. Now Obama needs big oil to survive in12... How bizarre....

    October 12, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rooster

    Sorry Hussein Obama! Good try.
    The only drilling we're looking forward to is going to happen on November 2nd.!!!

    October 12, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mudbone9

    @Dean – every single decision a politician makes no matter the timing is political. Thats why they call them "politicians". I also bet you didn't vote for him in the last election. Your just another HATER...I mean REPUBLICAN...or is it TEA BAGGER!

    October 12, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • LucyRicky

      Mudbone – Tea Party citizens back decent Democrats too. Not just Republicans. Get your facts straight before you start blowing off nonsense. You sound like a spoiled child.

      October 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. curious steve

    o-bummer is doing a superb job as a neo-fascist shill who is hired to undermine what little resistance to fascism there is in this country.

    he's finishing it off.

    October 12, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Giant Horsee

      you sure are one wack job. Are you really dumb enough to believe that the CIA, FBI, and the Military Services are going to stand by and let obama do anything untoward to rock their boats. Fool, they would eliminate him in an instant.

      October 12, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. kingwue

    Open up AMWR and you won't have to worry about a moratorium that never should have been in place.

    October 12, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mario1976

    Big Giant Horsee – isn't this a school day son?

    October 12, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Stoprunning

    Spill , baby , Spill

    October 12, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Oilfield Trash

    Drill Baby! Drill! We will always depend on oil as our main energy source. Your little fantasies of a world fueled by skittles and unicorn farts will never ever happen. Soooooo. Victory for the South!!!

    October 12, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guester

      Bet they said we'd always ride horses when the first autos came out too.

      October 12, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6