Posted by: reefrescue | May 24, 2010

Despite Moratorium, Drilling Projects Move Ahead

WASHINGTON — In the days since President Obama announced a moratorium on permits for drilling new offshore oil wells and a halt to a controversial type of environmental waiver that was given to the Deepwater Horizon rig, at least seven new permits for various types of drilling and five environmental waivers have been granted, according to records.

In voicing his frustration with these regulators and vowing to change how they operate, Mr. Obama announced on May 14 a moratorium on drilling new wells and the granting of environmental waivers.

“It seems as if permits were too often issued based on little more than assurances of safety from the oil companies,” Mr. Obama said. “That cannot and will not happen anymore.”

“We’re also closing the loophole that has allowed some oil companies to bypass some critical environmental reviews,” he added in reference to the environmental waivers.

But records indicated that regulators continued granting the environmental waivers and permits for types of work like that occurring on the Deepwater Horizon.

Read NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/24/us/24moratorium.html

UPDATE  May 28
President Barack Obama, under pressure to step up response to the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, on Thursday vowed tougher regulations for the oil industry and said he is suspending action on 33 exploratory drilling operations in the Gulf and canceling or temporarily suspending pending lease sales and drilling in Virginia and the Arctic.

Mr. Obama also said the “oil industry’s cozy and sometimes corrupt relationship” with federal regulators underscores the need for more oversight. Further, he said although BP PLC is responsible for cleaning up and paying for the disaster, the company is running all decisions by the federal government.
Read Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704269204575270031411598538.html

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