Entries in Deepwater Horizon (13)


Administration Lifts Off-Shore Drilling Moratorium

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration is lifting its moratorium on deepwater drilling, the Secretary of the Interior announced Tuesday, but it cautioned that offshore rigs will not resume drilling until operators meet new federal requirements on safety, spill response and blowout containment.

The announcement comes after a six-month ban imposed following the April 20th spill that leaked millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Salazar said he reached the decision after reviewing a report from Michael R. Bromwich of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement .
“I have reviewed Director Bromwich’s report many times and it affirms that through our reform agenda, we have made, and continue to make, significant progress in reducing the risks associated with deepwater drilling,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said during a conference call with reporters. “Therefore, based on Director Bromwich’s report, other information we have gathered and intensive deliberations that I have had with him, I have decided that it is now appropriate to lift the suspension on deepwater drilling for those operators that are able to clear the higher bar we have set.”

Salazar said that before drilling may resume in deepwater sites, the CEOs of drilling operators must certify that the drilling rig has complied with all new and existing rules – including new safety rules, worse-case discharge planning requirements, testing protocols and third-party verifications.

The secretary added that with the Maconda Deepwater Horizon well now capped and killed, government oil spill response resources in the Gulf are now freed up and readily available in the event of any new emergency once drilling resumes.

“The truth is there will always be risks associated with deepwater drilling, but we have now reached a point where we have significantly in my view reduced those risks,” Salazar said. “We will still need oil and gas from Gulf of Mexico to power our cars, our homes and our industry, but we can and we will make the drilling of oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico safer than it ever has been.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


NOAA Administrator 'Sets the Record Straight' to Oil Spill Commission

Photo Courtesy - NOAA dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- The administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wrote to the chairs of the Oil Spill Commission Thursday to "alert" them to a "mischaracterization" of a NOAA document in a commission staff working paper, the release of which Wednesday subjected the White House to much criticism of its response to the oil spill.

NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco said she wanted to "set the record straight" regarding the description in the paper that: "The Commission staff has also been advised that, in late April or early May 2010, NOAA wanted to make public some of its long-term, worst-case discharge models for the Deepwater Horizon spill, and requested approval to do so from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.  Staff was told that the Office of Management and Budget denied NOAA’s request."

Lubchenco said that NOAA "wanted to share the outcome of these models with the public, and so prepared a short description of the models and outcomes and submitted the document through OMB's interagency clearance process."  OMB required more work, though.  "Contrary to suggestions in the Draft Staff Working Paper, the document was cleared and released to the public."‬

In addition, asserted Lubchenco, the paper in question was studying long-term movement of the oil, not flow rate.  And though the draft paper "suggests that the early low flow rate estimates might have hampered the federal response,” she said, “[t]his was not the case.  Two goals of the worst-case scenario modeling were to inform the Unified Command's understanding about possible scenarios and aid the response effort, both of which happened.”‬

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Oil Spill Commission Blasts Obama Administration Response to Spill

Photo Courtesy - US Coast Guard via Getty ImagesPresident Obama’s National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, created through executive order on May 21, 2010, issued four preliminary working papers that include tough criticisms of the administration’s handling of the spills.

“For the first ten days of the spill, it appears that a sense of over-optimism affected responders,” one paper says. “Responders almost uniformly noted that, while they understood that they were facing a major spill, they believed that BP would get the well under control…While it is not clear that this misplaced optimism affected any individual response effort, it may have affected the scale and speed with which national resources were brought to bear.  In hindsight, some Coast Guard responders thought that their initial approach was too slow and unfocused.”

The report also says that the administration’s “estimates of the amount of oil flowing into and later remaining in the Gulf of Mexico in the aftermath of the Macondo well explosion were the source of significant controversy, which undermined public confidence in the federal government’s response to the spill.  By initially underestimating the amount of oil flow and then, at the end of the summer, appearing to underestimate the amount of oil remaining in the Gulf, the federal government created the impression that it was either not fully competent to handle the spill or not fully candid with the American people about the scope of the problem.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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