Entries in Off-Shore Drilling (3)


White House Expands Off-Shore Drilling

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House announced Tuesday that it is opening up new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska, allowing for the development of “more than 75 percent of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources on the [Outer Continental Shelf],” according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

“Expanding safe and responsible oil and gas production from the OCS is a key component of our comprehensive energy strategy to grow America’s energy economy, and will help us continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs here at home,” Salazar said in a statement.

While the program plans 15 offshore lease sales from 2012 to 2017, it keeps the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards off-limits, thus allowing the White House to walk a fine line between pleasing drilling proponents and appeasing environmentalists who oppose increased drilling.

The majority of lease sales are scheduled for areas in the Gulf, “where resource potential and interest is greatest and where infrastructure is most mature,” according to the White House.  The program also includes lease sales in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in the Arctic where efforts will be made to “avoid sensitive environmental resources, including areas accessed by Native Alaskans for subsistence uses.”

Obama, who first announced plans to open drilling in the Gulf and off the Alaskan coast last May, has set a target of reducing U.S. oil imports by a third by 2025.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama: No New Offshore Oil Drilling in East

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration, reversing itself in the wake of April's BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, has let it be known that it will maintain a long-standing ban on offshore oil drilling off the East Coast or western coast of Florida -- and political activists of all stripes are weighing in with delight or outrage.

Charlie Crist, the outgoing governor of Florida (a Republican turned Independent this year), told local reporters in Tallahassee the decision was "wonderful news."

"That's news that will be very favorably received by the tourist industry throughout the state, but also by the people," Crist said.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, said the administration was continuing a "misguided policy." "The Administration is taking the wrong approach in responding to the BP spill and creating energy jobs in this country.  The answer isn’t to give up and say, ‘America can’t figure it out, we’ll rely on other countries to produce our energy.’  The answer is to find out what went wrong and make effective, timely reforms to ensure that U.S. offshore drilling is the safest in the world," said Hastings.

Environmental groups, on the other hand, applauded. “As we saw this summer, offshore oil drilling cannot be done safely," said Andrew Sharpless, CEO of the group Oceana.  "It wrecks fisheries, kills the jobs that depend upon them, and contaminates beaches. This decision is a wise and sensible step to protect Florida, the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast from an inevitable disaster from expanded drilling.  It’s great to see the government acting in a strong, clear and far-sighted way to protect the oceans – and the people who work and depend on them."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


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

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