Salazar Announces New Drilling Regulations, But No Concession to Landrieu on Moratorium

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today announced a new set of safety and spill response regulations for offshore drilling operators. The rules are a response to the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon well in April, and do not come as a surprise to the oil and gas industry. Companies have been anxious for the official announcement so that they can plan future drilling operations with more clarity.

Salazar was careful, however, when addressing the deepwater drilling moratorium the Obama Administration put in place after the spill. The moratorium has sparked virulent protest from Gulf state representatives; Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu has resorted to blocking the appointment of White House budget director Jack Lew until Obama and Salazar agree to end or significantly alter the moratorium.

The New York Times' John Broder reports:

"We will lift it at our own time and when we're ready, and not based on political pressure from anyone," Mr. Salazar said.

The moratorium on deepwater drilling, imposed in late April, is scheduled to end on Nov. 30, but officials have signaled that it would probably be eased before then. ...

Michael R. Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, the Interior Department office that now polices offshore drilling, is to deliver a report to Mr. Salazar on Thursday providing a blueprint for safely resuming drilling. Mr. Salazar said he would review the report before making any decision on when that might happen.

Mr. Bromwich indicated earlier this week that even after the formal moratorium is lifted, it may be weeks or even months before his agency grants permits allowing the 33 idled deepwater rigs in the gulf to start up again. Permits will be issued only after companies provide new spill response plans detailed certification of the performance of critical equipment such as blowout preventers.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

Presented by

Nicole Allan is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Politics

Just In