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. xsited1

    Just in time for the increase in the gas tax in 2011!

    October 12, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. joe

    Im disappointed in Obama. Not because hes too liberal. Because hes not Liberal enough

    October 12, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • scottish mama

      Give him another 4 years. Energy jobs here we come. Louisiana get ready to educate yur children in solar and wind technology.

      October 13, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Budi

    I would like to see offshore drilling resumed, it keeps oil prices down and keeps us supplied with the energy that we need to maintain this lifestyle that everyone loves so much. However, stricter procedural compliance should be put into effect when it comes to these companies to ensure that a "mishap" is highly unlikely to ever occur again.

    I am in the Navy and find it amazing that the U.S. aircraft carriers, having 2-8 nuclear reactors on board, are entrusted by other countries to enter into their ports and waters at will. Its like allowing 8 nuclear power plants, run and operated by foreigners, to be built right next to your home. The point that I am trying to make with this is that for the 60 some years we have powered subs and carriers with nuclear power, not once has there been even a 'near mishap' because of the strict procedural compliance, safety controls, regulations, and redundant systems that are put into place by the Navy to ensure that even any 'near mishap' would be nearly impossible.

    I am sure that if off shore drilling platforms had both random and scheduled federal inspections, with strict penalties for failed inspection it would greatly reduce if not prevent a mishap from ever occurring again; and I am sure that if it can be done with nuclear reactors on board ships by the Navy, it could be done with off shore drilling facilities as well.

    October 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • scottish mama

      I concur. Regulation until something safer comes along.

      October 13, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tony

    Is anyone really shocked? They might as well have not bothered reporting it. Its back to business as usual. In the voice of officer Barbrady from South Park, "Move along people, nothing to see here". "What about the millions of gallons of oil and dispersants you ask? Well that all magically evaporated or was eat by microbes. Now move along people, nothing to see here"

    Hopefully soon enough it will get ridiculously expensive because its already proven to be ridiculously dangerous and that wasn't enough. So wallets have to start hurting next. Then only then will people start demanding a better way. Because we all know nothing ever happens proactively.

    October 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. HoustonSteve

    Another lame move by the Obama administration. I am not taking a stance one way or the other regarding whether we needed a moratorium on drilling or not. However, assuming we DID need one (which these lame-brains told us when they implemented one) and we did have to risk the effect on the economy long-term, etc etc etc, are these guys really telling us that they have now completed ALL of the analysis required to responsibly lift it?? REALLY??? One of the biggest environmental disasters in US history occurs just this summer, and these guys react by having this moratorium with the resulting effect on jobs in the gulf, making this hugely important decision that we needed this, but now we've had all the analysis of the situation we need, and now we can lift it in early October. REALLY?? Sounds more like BS politics to me. I expect this from pretty much all politicians, Republicans and Democrats, I just expect them to be a little less transparent about it than this.

    October 12, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Realistic

    We as a nation have become divided in everything and thats a shame. Some argue that we over regulate the oil industry and some argue we don't regulate enough. Some will use the same old saying" How about the oil workers?".Well how about the fishing industry, tourism and so on? As we have seen, when it comes to taking shortcuts for profit, profit rules and life and safety is secondary. I have a solution to the problem, make all those who inspect rigs live on the rig in shifts, I bet those rigs would be much safer. Also make the CEOs of the oil industry promise, if proven that a shortcut lead to an accident that they will have to walk in the nude in public of the effected area(state) for 2 months, even if its winter. Also all oil industry will would need to set aside 20billion(shakedown) in case of another accident and make them have to clean up the mess by hand, in the nude without help. And we the people get to watch while shootin them with rubber bands...Thats an idea(lol)

    October 12, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Floria sigmundi

    I don't get it?

    Check out this video on YouTube:


    October 12, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. whitekong78

    @Texas: Take out the retired and welfare recipients.

    October 12, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • scottish mama

      When are you going to stop posting this u tube?

      October 13, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  9. whitekong78

    Anyone who owns anything made of plastic including your lovely foreign made computer is contributing to the environmental issues. Most of what we own comes from petroleum products.

    October 12, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. whitekong78

    @Texas: remove children under 16, retirees and other people who don't work from the population totals. You can look up the hard numbers from the census. Basically anyone who pays federal income tax from a job would qualify.

    October 12, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. tomcat

    so obama says ya know what lets have another shuttle launch that will show the people in florida we care next let them start drilling again we care for them too. but wait dont give any aid to central Texas whose people suffered major damage to their houses because Governor Perry made me look like a fool on the tarmac at Austin ABIA. check it out at KXAN a CNN affiliate

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

    Back in the 70's the city of Colorado Springs gas dept. built the world's first genuine "zero emission" car. (even electric cars depend on burnt coal to make electricity to recharge batteries) (cont)

    October 12, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. phil

    ...The car ran on the same fuel you use to heat your home, natural gas. A small gas compressor filled the car's pressure vessel (tank) from a city gas line. (cont)

    October 12, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. phil

    ...the city presented this vehicle, after extensive testing, to the federal government. "Not interested" was the reply. This took our community by surprise. After all, the uSA sits atop the largest known natural gas reserves on earth. So why wasn't the gov even remotely interested? (cont)

    October 12, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. phil

    if you know anything about the "cozy" relationship enjoyed by big-oil and big-gov you already know why. If not, I feel for ya.

    October 12, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
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