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New Offshore Drilling Moratorium Ordered by Obama Administration

5 years ago
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The Obama administration, trying a new approach, is battling to maintain a moratorium on deep-water offshore drilling, despite two court setbacks and protests in the region that the work-stoppage will kill jobs.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has issued a new moratorium that is not based on water depth but rather on the type of rig or floating facility used for deep-sea drilling activities. If it survives legal scrutiny, the ban will remain in effect until Nov. 30. Salazar said evidence is growing "every day of the industry's inability in the deep water to contain a catastrophic blowout, respond to an oil spill, and to operate safely."

"More than 80 days into the BP oil spill, a pause in deep-water drilling is essential and appropriate to protect communities, coasts and wildlife from the risks that deep-water drilling currently pose," he added. Two federal courts ruled against an earlier moratorium that sought to ban any drilling deeper than 500 feet, with the most recent opinion coming last week.

In the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, BP's newly installed cap was readied for testing to determine the condition of the blown-out well and gauge how much pressure it can withstand as the oil flow from beneath the sea floor is gradually stopped. "The measurements that will be taken during this test will provide valuable information about the condition of the well below sea level and help determine whether or not it is possible to shut the well down for a period of time, such as during a hurricane or bad weather," said retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander.

The testing could continue into Wednesday, Allen said, and when it is finished the collection of oil going up a pipeline to ships on the surface will resume. In the meantime, he said 46 skimmers are operating in the vicinity to try to contain the oil that began surging into Gulf waters after an April 20 explosion killed 11 workers and destroyed the Deepwater Horizon rig.

Even if all goes well, the oil company will continue drilling two relief wells designed to permanently shut down the leaking well. The first one, nearly 18,000 feet below the water's surface, should be completed in the next several weeks, BP says.

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first, people are saying: "Don't drill in my backyard;" then they're opposed to foriegn oil.. cant have it both ways. Its a shame that people may lose their jobs; I wish they could be transferred or moved to another facility. The problem still lies in the fact that if this happens again not only will it cripple but out-do what safeguards were in place and then we may never recover for much longer decades to come. Its a shame that people keep saying dont vote dem/repub... everyone should vote with their minds and hearts about whats best represented for them not by what people say. It has to be in your interest to vote for whatever party favors your interests.

September 24 2010 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Gulf represents 10% of the U.S. GDP so many thousands of jobs will be lost on the rigs, and many thousands of supporting jobs will also be lost.

July 13 2010 at 11:27 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

It would be foolish to resume drilling far off shore without learning what happened in the BP disaster. The folks screaming DRILL, DRILL, DRILL will be the first ones looking for the federal government to rescue them when the next disaster occurs. Fortunately the Obama administration has a little more sense.

July 13 2010 at 9:47 AM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply

The first moratrorium was struck down first by a federal judge then a three judge court and the Obama answer is to issue an new moratorium. What do they call people that defy court orders? This moratorium is going to hurt the economy and the oil business but when Obama tries to push Cap and Tax legislation the people are going to realize what he has been after since the beginning of the spill and they will become really angry.

July 12 2010 at 11:57 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply


July 12 2010 at 10:39 PM Report abuse +20 rate up rate down Reply

What a great idea! Lets have a recession, raise taxes and then shut down the most lucrative jobs in the south eastern United States!
Please forgive me, I was OK when he got elected, I actually thought it might be good for the country to have the Demicans in office after the Republicrats botched it.

Re elect no one, regardless of party. Lets fire 'em all until they remember who they work for!

July 12 2010 at 10:37 PM Report abuse +18 rate up rate down Reply
Big Daddy

A story about capped wells from the associated press states that there are over 27,000 capped wells in the gulf some more than 50 years old and nobody is monitoring any of them. There are also over 2,000 temporarily capped wells, and that the deepwater horizon was in the process of capping this well when the accident occured. Why do they temporarily cap wells? to keep oil off the market until prices rise what else. All of you drill baby drill fanatics remember they were going to cap a well that is presently spewing a million and a half gallons a day till they could gouge us some more. 92% of the north slope in alaska has been leased yet nobody's drilling in fact BP is going to sell it's leases to pay their bills Why aren't they drilling? they didn't lease them because they couldn't drill there. BP makes 45 million a day profit I guess they don't want to make to much.

July 12 2010 at 9:48 PM Report abuse -14 rate up rate down Reply

One thing about it , unemployment is their top priority !

July 12 2010 at 9:16 PM Report abuse +20 rate up rate down Reply

And today the first of the deep water rigs is leaving the Gulf...Good job Mr. President. I know all the newly unemployed American oil workers are thanking you.

July 12 2010 at 8:49 PM Report abuse +31 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sysaphus71's comment

This moratorium applies to a tiny number. Don't worry, they will be able to keep destroying the planet and its life for a long time, as long as people don't wake up but remain enthralled to oil. Apparently they are counting on huge profits to destroy intellect, morality, and vision.

July 12 2010 at 10:16 PM Report abuse -27 rate up rate down Reply

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